Smriti Mandhana bags her second ICC Cricketer of the Year award

Women's CricZone Staff
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Sublime Smriti steers India to top on rain-affected day

Smriti Mandhana © Getty Images

India opener Smriti Mandhana has been chosen as the winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the Women’s Cricketer of the Year in the ICC Awards 2021. Mandhana was rewarded for her outstanding batting display through the last year, where she notched runs in all the three formats. 

This is the second time she has won the cricketer of the year award, having won it the first time in 2018. As a result of this, she also became only the second player after Ellyse Perry to win the accolade twice. Mandhana, though, remains one of only two Indians who have won the award, the other being Jhulan Goswami who won it way back in 2007. 

“I am truly honored for receiving the prestigious Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2021. I am grateful to my teammates, my coaches, my family, friends and fans who believed in my potential and supported me in this journey. A recognition of such high class from the global governing body of cricket in an exceptional and difficult year will motivate me to continue to better my game and contribute to Team India’s success going forward,” Mandhana said on winning the award. 

Having not played at the international stage for 364 days after the appearance in the final of the T20 World Cup in 2020, Mandhana scored 855 runs at an average of 38.86 in 22 international games. Her efforts included a century in India’s maiden pink-ball Test in Australia and five more 50+ scores across formats. 

Mandhana edged out some fellow openers to the award, Lizelle Lee from South Africa, Gaby Lewis from Ireland and Tammy Beaumont from England. Lee, ended up winning the ODI Cricketer of the year, for a stellar record in 2021 where she scored 632 runs in 11 matches at an average of 90.28. On winning the award, Lee said, “This award means a lot to me, I didn't expect it. It's an honor to just be nominated, so this feels amazing. There are so many people to give credit to - my parents and my wife have been my biggest source of support, but also my team-mates.”

Beaumont, on the other hand, was unveiled as the T20I Cricketer of the year. The England player scored 303 runs at an average of 33.66 in nine matches with three fifties to her name. “I’ve worked incredibly hard on my T20 game in the last few years. My T20I career has had its ups and downs and I don’t think I’ve always been known for my T20 abilities, so this award gives me a huge amount of confidence,” Beaumont said. 

Fatima Sana, the 20-year-old fast-bowler of Pakistan, won the Emerging Cricketer of the year award. She managed to pick up 20 wickets in 13 games for her side, having previously played just two matches before 2021. Austria’s Andrea-Mae Zepeda became the first player to win the ICC Women's Associate Cricketer of the Year. She made 361 runs at an average of 51.57 in eight matches and also managed to pick two wickets. 

Apart from these five awards, ICC also announced the T20I and ODI team of the year earlier this week. 

ICC T20I Team of the Year 2021: 

Smriti Mandhana (India), Tammy Beaumont (England), Danielle Wyatt (England), Gaby Lewis (Ireland), Natalie Sciver (England) (Captain), Amy Jones (England) (WK), Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Sophie Ecclestone (England), Loryn Phiri (Zimbabwe) and Shabnim Ismail (South Africa). 

ICC ODI Team of the Year 2021: 

Lizelle Lee (South Africa), Alyssa Healy (Australia) (WK), Tammy Beaumont (England), Mithali Raj (India), Heather Knight (England) (Captain), Hayley Matthews (West Indies) Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Shabnim Ismail (South Africa), Fatima Sana (Pakistan), Jhulan Goswami (India), Anisa Mohammed (West Indies).