Indian Women’s Cricket Team batter Smriti Mandhana says that the team has improved massively as a unit since their T20 World Cup final defeat to Australia last year and she is of the opinion that they will be far more competitive as they kick off their tour of Australia starting next week.
India are set to play three ODIs, a day-night Test and three T20Is against Australia starting September 21. The Test match is set to be played from September 30 to October 3 in Canberra.
The T20 World Cup final last year was the last time these two times locked horns with each other and Australia had won by a massive margin of 85 runs in front of the MCG crowd.
“The team has grown massively (since the T20 World Cup),” Mandhana told ‘The Scoop podcast’.
“COVID was a big break after the T20 World Cup and a lot of girls had a chance to go back and understand more about their games, where they lack as an individual and come back stronger.”
Mandhana said that the Indian team is slowly getting back into rhythm after the COVID-19 induced break.
“The whole team has worked on their fitness and skills…we are still getting into a rhythm of playing matches continuously but the last five, six months we have been playing cricket and now we are getting back into the match mindset. Hopefully the series goes well for the whole team”
Mandhana played in The Hundred in England along with the likes of Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur ahead of this tour. She said that playing against Australia is always a challenge that they enjoy.
“We all love playing against Australia, because they are one of the best teams in the world and quite competitive,” Mandhana said.
“When it comes to Australia, you’re a bit more pumped because of the level of competitiveness of the Australian team, it just rubs off on us and we also start being extra competitive.”
Mandhana also enjoys playing in Australia. She is the only Indian woman to score a hundred in Australia. She scored 102 at the Blundstone Arena when she was just 19 years old. She also has the highest score by an Indian batter in Australia in Women’s T20Is.
“Australian wickets have a true bounce and I think everyone loves batting in Australia. No one will tell you they don’t like batting in Australia,” Mandhana said.
“We are all just really happy to play cricket, whatever the quarantine period may be,” Mandhana said.