Next The rule breakerCricket might be considered a gentleman’s game, but things are changing. cricketer Smriti Mandhana on the skills the sport teaches you.advertisement Aditi Pai July 18, 2019 ISSUE DATE: July 29, 2019UPDATED: July 18, 2019 18:07 IST Danesh JassawalaSMART PLAYER: Smriti Mandhana knows how to stay focussed on the game. Photo: Danesh JassawalaWith titles such as the Best Women’s International Cricketer awarded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and accolades by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Smriti Mandhana, 23, is a force to reckon with. Six years ago, she became the first Indian woman cricketer to score aWith titles such as the Best Women’s International Cricketer awarded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and accolades by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Smriti Mandhana, 23, is a force to reckon with. Six years ago, she became the first Indian woman cricketer to score a double century in a one-day game and in February this year, she led India’s Women T20I squad for the three-match series against England. The young cricketer from Sangli, Maharashtra, recently bagged an endorsement as the face of skin and bath brand ITC Vivel.How did you get into playing cricket?My brother and father used to play cricket so I would follow my brother to the grounds, watch him play and then play with him. That’s how I fell in love with batting. I would wait for my turn and bat. I played gully cricket and would even play in the house with tennis balls. At five, I started playing with leather balls. We moved to Sangli when I was seven and I would go and play at different grounds. Finally at nine, I got selected in the state team.When did you get your first big break?At 14, I scored a century in the senior state team and that’s when I felt I could get into the national team. I got serious and started training harder. Earlier, I only dreamed of getting into the national team, but now I felt I could play for India. So at 17, I was selected for the Indian seniors’ team and my first match was against Bangladesh. We had just lost the 2013 World Cup and they wanted young players. Eight youngsters were taken and the seniors were rested. I came in first to bat. Harmanpreet Kaur was the captain so I saw her on one side and Poonam Yadav on the other. These were players whose game I had seen. I was very nervous. I got out at 17 or 18 runs but that match was special.advertisementDoes a sporting career need a strong support system?I was lucky because my parents supported me and they wanted me to play for India. Even during my training, I was lucky. At that time, I was the only girl in Sangli who would practice every day so everyone gave me attention. The boys used to bowl to me. My father coached me and I also had a private coach. For a few years, I had to manage it with school. I would come back from school at 2 pm and go for practice at 4 pm. But later, it became easier. Now when I am in Sangli I train for eight hours every day.How important is discipline for a sportsperson?In the last three years there has been a lot of emphasis on fitness. The major difference between India and other teams is fitness and that is something we are working on. In 2017, we felt that we lost the World Cup because of fitness levels, and we want to work on that.How has women’s cricket evolved?After the 2017 World Cup, people understood that there is a women’s team. They appreciate us and criticise us and that is good because when you know you are accountable, you go and practice harder.Are women cricketers getting more endorsements?In the last three years, interest has increased and women cricketers have got endorsements. I was chosen as the face of ITC Vivel and I took it up because the taglineab samjhauta nahi really appealed to me. It relates to athletes and sportspersons. When you play at an international level and want to keep your performance consistent you cannot compromise on anything.What are the skills that sports teaches you?You understand yourself better. In a team sport when you are around say 15 players, you get to know yourself. At 10 or 11, I knew what I wanted from my life. There are highs and lows and they make you a stable person.What were some of the challenges you faced?I was injured before the 2017 World Cup while playing in Australia. All physiotherapists felt I wouldn’t be fit to play so it was a difficult phase. Those five months were tough but they taught me a lot and made me a better player. I had to train hard for those few months to get back.What advice would you give to aspiring sportspersons?Enjoy the hard work and if you do it wholeheartedly it will happen. Be passionate about the sport you play. There is no particular age at which you should start, but if you start young, it is easier to pick up a sport.advertisementYou’ve reached your article limitSign in to keep reading India TodaySign inSign up NOW to get:Premium content on Aaj Tak HD ChannelUnrestricted access to India Today magazine contentGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byshweta keshri Tags :Follow Smriti Mandhana
UN EnvironmentA close up view of the FlipFlopi dhow, a 9-metre traditional sailing boat made from 10 tonnes of discarded plastic.Historic pollution commitments along Flipflopi routeFlipflopi made several stops during the journey, letting local people know what they can do to halt the spread of toxic plastic waste, including the Kenyan coastal towns of Kipini, Malindi and Mombasa.Workshops were conducted to give community members a better understanding of the consequences of dumping plastic waste into the ocean and show children how they can create useful new objects out of dumped plastic bottles.During the Flipflopi voyage, every port of call announced historic commitments to fight pollution. One of the most significant was the pledge to close the Kibarani landfill site in Mombasa, which allows toxic water to drain directly into the ocean. Kibarani is now being restored and planted with trees, while waste will reportedly be disposed of at a new site in a more environmentally responsible manner.Another positive outcome of the campaign has been the decision of 29 businesses, including 22 hotels, to minimize their plastic waste through measures such as banning the use of plastic bottles and straws.UN Environment’s Clean Seas – Flipflopi expedition, is the latest chapter in Kenya’s push to become a global pioneer in tackling plastic pollution. In August 2017, the country introduced the world’s toughest ban on plastic bags with anyone producing, selling or using a plastic bag, risking imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000.The next step for Flipflopi will be a journey to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where Heads of State, environment ministers, environmental activists, innovators, NGOs, and CEOs of multinational companies will gather for the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly – the world’s highest-level environmental forum – from 11-15 March 2019. The Flipflopi Project was co-founded by Kenyan tour operator Ben Morison in 2016, and the ground-breaking dhow was built by master craftsmen Ali Skanda, and a team of volunteers using 10 tonnes of recycled plastic.The boat gets its name from the 30,000 recycled flip-flops used to decorate its multi-coloured hull.Plastics make up 80 per cent of all ocean litterThe UN Environment agency’s (UNEP) Clean Seas Campaign joined forces with Flipflopi for the journey down the East African coast, which began on 23 January, ending on 7 February, with the aim of inspiring citizens from Africa and around the world to become more aware of the dangers of plastic pollution.The Clean Seas campaign was launched in 2017 to urge governments, businesses and citizens to eliminate major sources of marine litter – microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic – by the year 2022. Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in the oceans is made of plastic.