2018 has ended in fine style for Western Storm opener Smriti Mandhana.
The India batter today received the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year and was also named as the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year.
The 22-year-old, who has also been named in the ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year and the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year, scored 669 runs at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs and 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20Is during the voting period, which ran from 1 January to 31 December 2018.
Mandhana played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35. She is currently ranked fourth in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters and 10th in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for T20I Batters.
Mandhana, who was selected by a voting academy which included respected members of the media and broadcasters, becomes only the second India woman player to win an ICC award after fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007.
After receiving the award, Smriti said: “The awards are pretty special because as a player when you score runs, you want the team to win, and then when you get acknowledged for your performances through these awards, it motivates you to work harder and do well for your team.
“The century I scored in South Africa (in Kimberley) was quite satisfying and then I had good home series against Australia and England. A lot of people used to say I do not score that much in India, so I had a point to prove to myself. That was something which really made me better as a player. Then, of course, the first four matches of the ICC Women’s World T20 were quite memorable.”
ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson said: “Smriti is a worthy winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award and I congratulate her on behalf of the ICC. Smriti enthralled fans with some wonderful performances in what was a memorable year for women’s cricket, with the ICC Women’s World T20 helping build on the momentum of last year’s World Cup.”