Indian cricketer Smriti Mandhana has opened up on her cricket journey and the challenges she faced in becoming a cricketer. "People used to taunt my parents saying that no one will marry her," Smriti said, while taking part in the quiz-based reality show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati 15', alongside men’s cricketer Ishan Kishan.
Smriti represents the Maharashtra cricket team in domestic cricket. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also awarded her the 'Best Women's International Cricketer' in the BCCI awards.
During the gameplay, host Amitabh Bachchan asked the 27-year-old: "Mr Computer says that you hail from a family who share an association with cricket. How would you describe your journey in the sport?"
Smriti said: "Yes, sir. My father and brother were both into cricket since childhood. It was dad's dream. His family didn't grant him permission to pursue the sport. He wanted both his children to play cricket and at least one of them to represent India."
Smriti's father Shrinivas Mandhana and her brother, Shravan, played cricket at the district-level, for Sangli.
ONLY ABOUT CRICKET
She shared that cricket is all she has heard about since childhood.
"I think from the time I was in my mother's womb. I used to practice too, mostly fetching the ball for my brother. I learned to bat by watching him from behind the nets. Actually, I'm a righty. But because my brother was a lefty, I learnt left-handed batting from him because l'd just stand behind the net and observe him. I think that's how I started playing cricket," said Smriti.
The 'Brahmastra' actor acknowledged that the right and left-handed combination is quite prevalent.
Ishan told the actor: "Sir, you write with your left hand...", to which the 81-year-old actor said: "I'm a lefty. But my brain works rather differently. So, I am ambidextrous and can use both hands."
Ishan replied: "Sir, I tried writing with my left hand. When I saw you and Sachin sir, I thought all great men write with their left hand."
CHALLENGES ALL THE WAY
Big B then asked Smriti, "You must have faced many challenges with regard to the sport. How did you overcome them? What kind of challenges were they?"
Smriti said: "Sir, when I began playing women's cricket, I mostly had to practice with boys - because not too many girls played cricket back then. So, yes. But I wish to give the credit to my parents. They didn't let any of this get to me. They gave me complete freedom."
The cine icon applauded her parents and said: "Wow! That's lovely. Congratulations to both of you. These are modern views. Women deserve equal predominance and opportunities as their male counterparts."
Smriti then said: "My parents were taunted by people - 'If she gets tanned, no one will marry her.' But the best thing was, they never let me bear the brunt. They allowed me to play."
Amitabh concluded by saying, "That's just wonderful."