Indias left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana has won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the ICC Womens Cricketer of the Year and also been named as the ICC Womens ODI Player of the Year, the International Cricket Council announced on Monday.
The 22-year-old scored 669 runs at an average of 66.90 in 12 ODIs and 622 runs at a strike-rate of 130.67 in 25 T20Is during the voting period, which ran from January 1 to December 31, according to an ICC’s statement.
Mandhana played a crucial role in India’s semi-final appearance at the ICC Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, scoring 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35.
She is currently ranked fourth in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters and 10th in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Players Rankings for T20I Batters.
Reacting to the news, a delighted Mandhana said: “The awards are pretty special because as a player when you score runs, you want the team to win, and then when you get acknowledged for your performances through these awards, it motivates you to work harder and do well for your team.
“The century I scored in South Africa (in Kimberley) was quite satisfying and then I had good home series against Australia and England. A lot of people used to say I do not score that much in India, so I had a point to prove to myself.
“That was something which really made me better as a player. And then, of course, the first four matches of the ICC Women’s World T20 were quite memorable,” she added.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Mandhana, saying: “Smriti is a worthy winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award and I congratulate her on behalf of the ICC. Smriti enthralled fans with some wonderful performances in what was a memorable year for women’s cricket, with the ICC Women’s World T20 helping build on the momentum of last year’s World Cup.
“I would also like to congratulate other winners of the ICC awards, which are a recognition of performances during a calendar year and something I am sure players will cherish for a long time.”
Australia’s opening batter and wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who came up with some superb performances and finished with 225 runs in six matches at the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in the West Indies, has been named the ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Year.
England’s 19-year-old left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone has been voted the ICC Women’s Emerging Player of the Year after grabbing 18 wickets in nine ODIs and 17 in 14 T20Is during the calendar year.