Ahead of Cricket World Cup, Smriti Mandhana wants to be more consistent and 'close games on a regular basis'
Smriti Mandhana © Getty Images
India batter Smriti Mandhana has expressed that she desires to be more consistent heading into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2022. She also stated that she would work on her finishing skills ahead of the mega event, PTI reported.
The elegant southpaw has been a key player for the Indian team in the last few years. Her presence at the top of the order provides solidity to the side and her performances have been crucial on several occasions. While speaking on her assessment of the past year, she revealed that it was tough for her to get the rhythm once cricket began in the post COVID-19 world.
"Post Covid, it was hard to get the rhythm back as I was playing international cricket after one and a half years. It took a while to get into the groove but the last two series have been decent but surely there is scope for improvement,” Mandhana was quoted as saying.
The 25-year-old didn’t have a great home series against South Africa in early 2021, but managed to make a fine comeback during the tours of England and Australia later in the year. Her century in the pink-ball Test against Australia was one of the finest knocks of the year. She also scored two fifties in the white-ball leg of that tour.
"I am really happy with the way I have been timing the ball. I am sure the team has also learnt a lot in the last one year which will help us go forward. It was getting tough playing back to back matches but we've played a lot in the last six months and that's a good sign. The body also feels prepared,” Mandhana said while highlighting the importance of game time.
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Post India's tour of England, Mandhana also took part in the inaugural season of The Hundred before turning up for Sydney Thunder in the WBBL after the Australia series. She even managed a fantastic century in the Australian franchise league apart from scoring 377 runs at a strike rate of 130.45.
Mandhana further added how she wants to close games on a regular basis. "As a batter you have to be selfish to be more consistent and that's something I want to work on, closing games on a regular basis especially the tight finishes. It is something which we all know that we need to work on as that is going to help us in the World Cup," the T20I vice-captain said.
India will open their campaign at the World Cup with a match against Pakistan on March 06, 2022. But, right before the mega event, team India is scheduled to play a five-match ODI series against the hosts New Zealand. This adds to India’s preparation leading into the tournament and will serve as a good opportunity for the team to get accustomed to the conditions.
"The last one year has been really important for us and especially playing in England and Australia. We are also playing New Zealand, so playing the top three-four teams in a space of seven-eight months, that is the best preparation for the World Cup. We have learnt a lot in the last two series," Mandhana added.
Mandhana was a member of India’s squad in the 2017 World Cup in England when the side ended up being runners-up. She highlighted that despite losing the series in Australia, there were some positives which the team can take from those defeats.
"The Australia series was a good one though results didn't go our way. Almost all the matches were decided in the last over and those were matches we could have won or lost. Though we lost the three series, they served as good preparation for us to go into the World Cup. We were able to score 250 plus in two out of three games. Will take all the positives from that. I also learnt a lot in Australia," she concluded.