Smriti Mandhana, India Women's aggressive left-hand opener who has been raking up runs for fun in the Women’s Super League, fulfilled a long-held dream recently – she met her idol Kumar Sangakkara.
Mandhana has been in sizzling form for Western Storm, with 338 runs from just six matches at 84.5, with an impressive strike-rate of 183.69. She leads the run charts by 146 runs to Amy Satterthwaite, who is No.2 with 192 runs.
However, it came as news to Mandhana that Sangakkara watched her in full flow. In fact, the Sri Lanka legend was so impressed, he put out a tweet in praise of her.
Watching @mandhana_smriti putting bowlers to the sword here at Taunton. She is brilliant to watch. Great ambassador and great skill— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 29, 2018
Mandhana swiftly arranged for a meeting. “When I played my first match here, he was commentating,” she told BBC. “I didn't know that he was here, but when I saw his tweet for me, I got to know.
"I tried telling my manager, ‘please make me meet him’. I don't think I've done something like that for anyone ... but I've idolised him for the longest time now, and whenever I am not in good form or not in good touch, I try to watch his videos so that I get a bit of confidence and see his head position.
“I am like a huge fan, and speaking to him was so wonderful – he almost spoke to me for 15-20 minutes.”
However, in all that time, she didn’t get much by way of advice, only because Sangakkara said she had no real need for it. “I asked him about my batting. He said 'you're batting really well. Just don't think about it, go out, and bat the way you are batting. It doesn't look like anything is missing'.”
Mandhana’s runs have helped Western Storm to No.2 on the six-team table, level on 23 points with Loughborough Lightning at No.1. Storm will next play Lancashire Thunder on Thursday.