After the much appreciated one-off Test match between England and India, now it’s the three-match One-Day series coming up followed by the three T20s in the queue. The Indian side, especially Taniya Bhatia and Sneh Rana got their chill on the fourth and the last day of the Test moving to all extents and making a century-past partnership for the ninth wicket. Smriti Mandhana, with not-so-good second innings and good first innings, had some casual words with ESPNCricinfo recently where she has revealed some of the secrets of her life as well.

She started with the answer that she would like to have a record of most number of World Cup wins at the end of her career. While talking about the person she texts the most about cricket, she took her coach Anant Tambvekar’s name. She said that she discusses her practice timing, batting or sharing videos of batting with him. While talking about her one knock which she wants to redo, Smriti Mandhana promptly answered, “I have got out on (the) 70s and 80 so many times, I would like to go back and turn them into centuries.”

Having the nickname ‘Mahdu’ because of being a Marwari, Mandhana revealed the advantage and disadvantage of being a younger sibling. She said: “I think the best part is you always get the advantage of being the smallest in the house and then you get whatever you ask for like a spoiled kid and even your brother supports you. The disadvantage is you always get compared to your brother. While growing up my dad used to be like look at him the way he bats.”

The swashbuckling India opener has also shared a few secrets about her Indian dressing room. While talking about the messiest roommate on the side, she named herself alongside Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana also shared who gets beaten more at the play-station. While replying, she added, “We have not actually played FIFA for a long time but I think for us there is 50-50 as I don’t want to be into any controversy.”

However, Smriti Mandhana loves to sleep and she also expressed that she wouldn’t mind sitting next to anybody as well. “I can sit next to anyone because I end up sleeping the whole flight so it doesn’t really bother to me who is sitting right next to me. Suppose if we are going to West Indies and it’s a 30-hour flight, I am capable of sleeping 24-25 hours and no one will really wake me up.”

Meanwhile, she also said that she would love to take her teammates to her cafe, SM 18 Cafe if they will visit her in Sangli. While talking about her favourite song and music composer, she didn’t take much time to answer Jashn-e-bahara from Jodha Akbar alongside a few Punjabi songs and Pritam (Chakraborty) respectively as his songs are very relatable to her.

However, she would like to change something in herself, citing, “Probably not forgetting stuff and not being messy. I think my mom will be the happiest if I don’t be messy and also I am very bad at texting or replying to people back in time.” 

Mandhana admitted that it is Jemimah Rodrigues, who handles social media better as she does a lot of creative stuff. And, she did share that she doesn’t want to live one day as another cricketer as she is “happy being Smriti Mandhana” and “would like to be Smriti Mandhana only. Probably, (would like to) get better as a player.”

‘I can feel the aura when I first met with Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj’ – Smriti Mandhana

While England captain Heather Knight said that she would pick Mandhana as a partner in a cricket quiz, she named Shikha Pandey as she has a lot of knowledge. She split bean on who takes most selfies in the Indian dressing room also and they are none other than Taniya Bhatia and Jemimah Rodrigues.

However, the left-handed opener would love to take part in that ‘Minute to Win It’ as she loved watching that as a kid. Later on, she shared the secret about the thing that a teammate thinks they are good at but in reality, they are not. While responding, she cited: “Jhulan Goswami thinks she is a great dancer, though I am a bad judge as I am a bad dancer too. (She giggles) But in reality, she is not that great. (Apologizes sarcastically at the end)”

While these secrets were revealed by her, she also mentioned one batting shot she wants to have in her kitty. “If I could loft as Sophie Divine or the way she hits. I wouldn’t say one particular shot but the way she hit is something crazy. And talking about one particular shot then Mathew Hayden just walked on and just hit over mid-on and mid-off to pace bowlers is something I used to love watching that,” added Smriti Mandhana.

Mandhana, however, gave a positive reply while talking about a World Cup memory she would like to forget. She said, “I don’t think I want to forget anything because whatever had happened has taught me a lot and we have had (a) very big and good moment.”

Talking about her cooking experiences, she said that seeing her mom cooking is the best learning experience for her. Moreover, her love for ‘bhelpuri’ is well known. While the time came to choose between that and Instagram follower, she had no doubt to chose ‘bhelpuri’ over Instagram.

However, Smriti Mandhana too has her favourite cricketers and while replying to who has left her star-struck, she has the answer everyone would love to hear. “MS Dhoni. I have always been a follower of him but whenever I meet him I can feel the aura. (The) same is the case when I first met with Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj,” she further added.

When she was asked what advice would she give her younger self, she said that she would ask her to be the way you are and do mistakes because some way or the other it will help her only. As far as giving advice to young girls, Smriti Mandhana said: “For me what has worked is just giving my heart out and trying to enjoy each and every moment, successes and failures, hard work. I think you should take into account each and every emotion that is attached to cricket. And that moment should be enjoyed as it can be shown on your performances in the 22 yards.”

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