'We're Excited': Smriti Mandhana on Women's Cricket Debut at Commonwealth Games
Smriti Mandhana will be the vice-captain of the Indian women's cricket team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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Women's cricket will be making its debut at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and it will be played in the T20 format. The Indian team will be led by Harmanpreet Kaur, while Smriti Mandhana has been named her deputy.
The 15-member team faced a minor setback before their departure to Birmingham, with two members of the team testing positive for COVID. However, that hasn't dampened the spirits of the squad, which will be participating in a multi-sports event for the first time.
"We are all really excited to be part of the CWG for the first time. Women's cricket being a part of the event isn't really something we had expected. And to have it happen...we all were really happy about it," she said.
"Frankly, I don't know what to expect, because when you go for a World Cup or a series, you know what to expect. But here, many other sports are also played. So, I don't know what to expect from it and I can't even ask anyone what we should expect, because there's no one else who's had this experience," said Smriti, a Nike athlete.
Cricket was first featured in the Commonwealth Games in the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur, with just the men's event, in which 16 nations participated. The matches were of 50 overs and were given just List A status, rather than being granted One-Day International status. South Africa won the gold, defeating Australia in the final, while New Zealand won the bronze.
'We Can Beat Australia'
Under skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, the Indian women's team now has the chance to make history as they start their campaign on Friday against Australia (the match gets underway at 3:30 pm IST)
Meg Lanning's no. 1-ranked Aussie side will be the one to beat in the 8-team event, but Smriti told The Quint she was confident that the Indian team could beat them if it's their day.
"I think we have done pretty well against them in T20s, and in the first match we played in the 2020 World Cup, we won. So, I don't think we will look as if we can't beat them."
"We will go with the mindset that we have beaten them before. We will try to do the same thing and just play good cricket. T20 cricket is all about whether it's your day, whether you have a good day on a given day. In T20 cricket, it is not always about who you are playing, but about clicking on a given day," said the Indian team's vice-captain.
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