Indian women's cricket team star Smriti Mandhana believes that school is the perfect time to start playing cricket as at that age one can pick up a sport really well.
Mandhana also recalled the time when she was started representing the under-15 Maharashtra women's team at the age of nine, while she was part of the state's under-19 team at 11.
In October 2013, she became the first Indian woman to achieve a double-hundred in a one-day game and then secured a spot in the Maharashtra senior team, as well as, made her India debut in the same year.
Talking to Jatin Sapru after winning the Red Bull Cricket Challenge, Mandhana said: “Yeah, definitely. I think that school is the perfect time to start playing cricket. When you're between seven and 14 years old, that's when you can pick up a sport really well. I think school is a perfect time.”
She added, “I remember when I was in school - I loved cricket since I was five - but it was very difficult for me to find playing partners. My friends didn't play cricket and there wasn't anything for women's cricket at the school level. So I used to mostly play with the boys.”
The 25-year-old also thanked all those girls who get inspired by her by saying it’s a big achievement for her to be able to become an inspiration for someone while sharing a message for them
She said, “Firstly, I'd like to thank them. I feel to inspire someone the biggest achievement. Even if I could inspire four girls to pick up a bat and ball to play cricket, it's an achievement for me.”
Sharing the message for the girls, Mandhana said: “Just one message I'll pass on is what I've learned and applied in my cricket life, and that is to enjoy each moment. Enjoy each practice session. Try to go out there and do it for myself. Many times, you do something just for the sake of it or because your coach or your parents told you to. But I don't think that work shows in the results.”
She signed off by saying, “When you do it for yourself and enjoy the process, the results come automatically. That's what I try to do. I try and enjoy each ball I play. Even when I'm out of form - although it's much harder - I try and enjoy that whole practice session. It doesn't guarantee a 100% result, but it's the best possible chance to convert it into a result.”
(With ANI Inputs)