Talented India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana was on Monday adjudged 'Women's Cricketer of the Year' as well as the 'Women's ODI Player of the Year' by the ICC. Left-handed opener Mandhana won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the 'Women's Cricketer of the Year' for scoring 669 runs in 12 ODIs along with 622 runs in 25 T20 Internationals in 2018.
Her ODI runs were scored at an average of 66.90 while strike-rate for T20I was an impressive 130.67. Mandhana played a crucial role in India's semi-final appearance at the Women's World T20 in the West Indies, where she scored 178 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 125.35. She is currently ranked fourth in the ODI rankings and 10th in the rankings for T20Is, the ICC said in a statement.
Mandhana became only the second India woman player to win an ICC award after fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who was named the ICC Player of the Year in 2007. Reacting to the news, a delighted Mandhana said: "...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," she added.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson congratulated Mandhana, saying: "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."
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 Women's World T20 in the West Indies, has been named the ICC Women's T20I Player of the Year.
"Winning the ICC Women's World T20 final against England is something pretty special, especially after a disappointing couple of years in World Cups. That win against them, a dominant performance, was pretty special and one I will never forget," she said.
"When I first started playing for Australia I never thought that I would achieve anything like this. It's a huge honour and one that I will not take lightly," the batswoman said.
England's 19-year-old left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone has been voted the Emerging Player of the Year after grabbing 18 wickets in nine ODIs and 17 in 14 T20Is during the calendar year. "It was my first full year as an England player after finishing my education so it's amazing to get an award like this," Ecclestone said.
"We learned a lot in India at the beginning of the year and we took that into our summer against New Zealand and South Africa. We've never said we're the perfect team but we'll keep working hard to get better and that's the same for me," Ecclestone said.