Indian left-handed batswoman Smriti Mandhana was part of the women's cricket team that reached its maiden T20 World Cup final earlier this year. Women's cricket in India has come leaps and bounds in the last few years, which is clearly evident from the success it has had on the international stage. Smriti Mandhana attributes some part of her success to the advice she received from Indian men's cricket team skipper, Virat Kohli.
During a recent BBC podcast The Doosra, Smriti Mandhana recalled her meeting with Virat Kohli and the impactful message the men's skipper had for the young Mandhana. The 23-year-old told former England cricketer Isa Guha that it was also the first time she spoke to Virat Kohli about the game. Mandhana said Kohli told her that the women's team had the capability to inspire a generation of women to take up sports in India. "He (Virat Kohli) told me that your team can do something in India which men's team cannot do, that is to change the culture for women in India," she said during the podcast.
Widely regarded as one of the best cricketers in the world, Virat Kohli is often credited as shaping up the culture among Indian cricketers where the emphasis was put on fitness alongside cricket. Smriti Mandhana revealed one of the tips that Kohli had for her was to try and hit the gym whenever possible. "Whenever you feel like missing a gym session, just think that you can actually inspire a generation of women in India to take up sports not only cricket," the left-handed batter added.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means, most sports action in India as well across the globe are currently suspended. The Indian Premier League (IPL) failed to even see the day of light as it was suspended by the BCCI last month. While men's IPL remains suspended, reports suggest BCCI is working on introducing a women's IPL in the near future.
Smriti Mandhana shared her thoughts on the possible introduction of women's IPL stating an IPL with five or six teams would further help revolutionise women's cricket in India. Smriti Mandhana says a women's IPL can potentially be pivotal in bridging the competition gap between the international and domestic circuit in the country. "Women's cricket in Indian is growing massively, especially the domestic circuit. But there's still a lot of gap between competition between international and domestic circuit which I think will be bridged in 2-3 years," Mandhana added.