Virat Kohli’s jersey number 18 wasn’t Smriti Mandhana’s first choice

Virat Kohli’s jersey number 18 wasn’t Smriti Mandhana’s first choice

Mandhana scored a 24-ball fifty against the White Ferns on Wednesday.

Smriti Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana. (Photo Source: MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

The number 18 jersey has been a popular one in the Indian cricketing fraternity. Virat Kohli, the Indian captain dons it and weaves his magic on the cricket pitch. From women’s cricket, top order batswoman Smriti Mandhana has the privilege to wear it. The southpaw is merely 22 years old and has already racked up some tremendous numbers in international cricket, both at home and abroad.

However, it wasn’t Mandhana’s first choice as she always wished for some other number behind her back and mentioned the reasons behind the same. She revealed that the team manager advised her for Kohli’s prestigious number as number seven wasn’t available at that point in time. The left-hander made her debut on Chahal TV on Wednesday after becoming the top-ranked ODI batswoman.    

“I wanted number 7 on the back of my jersey. My roll number at school was 7. But someone else had already taken 7. Vikas sir, our team manager, then suggested me to take 18 (Virat Kohli’s jersey number). I knew it only a couple of years ago that Virat also has been playing with 18 on the back of his jersey,” Mandhana was quoted as saying in Chahal TV.

I felt like I have to develop my game

Albeit India Women slumped to a 23-run defeat in the opening T20I at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Mandhana shone with the bat, having scored 58 runs from 34 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes. She also scored the fastest half-century for the national team in the shortest format in 24 balls, bettering her own record- the previous best being in 25 deliveries.

While having a chat with Yuzvendra Chahal, Mandhana also funnily mentioned that she was inspired by the former’s batting in the fourth ODI at the Seddon Park in Hamilton. In that game, the Indian men’s team was bowled out for 92 and Chahal turned out to be their leading run-scorer.

“Yes, yes. I was inspired a lot after seeing you bat in the 4th ODI (vs New Zealand in Hamilton). I felt like I have to develop my game. You’re one my inspirations when it comes to batting,” she added.

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