India’s swashbuckling opener Smriti Mandhana was on Monday named the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year for her incredible run of form across all formats in 2021.
Mandhana was short-listed for the top award — the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy — along with Tammy Beaumont of England, Lizelle Lee of South Africa and Gaby Lewis of Ireland, the ICC said in a statement.
Despite India enduring a difficult 2021, Mandhana’s stock continued to rise this year.
Congratulations to @mandhana_smriti for winning the ICC Player of the Year 2021 and becoming the first Indian female player to win this award twice. She has been a trailblazer and this award is a reflection of her hard work and consistency. https://t.co/CBi6FX3kI8
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) January 24, 2022
In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won just two of the eight matches at home, Mandhana played a major role in both of the wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out in the win in the final T20I.
The 25-year-old played a sublime innings of 78 in the first innings of the one-off Test against England that ended in a draw. She played an important knock of 49 in India’s only win in the ODI series.
Her 15-ball 29 and fifty in the T20I series went in vain though as India fell short in both the matches and lost the series 2-1.
The Southpaw was in good touch in the series against Australia, starting with the ODI series where she scored 86 in the second ODI.
She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career), and was awarded the Player of the Match.
She scored her second T20I fifty of the year in the final T20I, though India fell short and lost the series 2-0.
Mandhana made India’s first-ever pink-ball Test even more memorable by smashing her maiden century in the longest format.