Batting sensation Smriti Mandhana became the youngest Indian T20I captain when she led the women’s cricket team against England in the first T20I in Guwahati.
At 22 years and 229 days, Mandhana was appointed as the captain in absence of Harmanpreet Kaur, who has been ruled out of the three-match series with an ankle injury.
Out-of-favour India left-handed batsman, Suresh Raina previously held the record as he was appointed as the captain of the men’s T20I team at 23 years and 197 days. Notably, Harmanpreet was the youngest woman to have led the Indian women’s T20I team (23 years, 237 days) before Monday.
The 22-year-old southpaw, however, looked short of ideas against the World T20 runner-up England in the first T20I as the visitors easily defeated the Women in Blue by 40 runs.
Mandhana, new to her role, couldn’t guide the bowlers and under pressure kept changing the field after every other ball, which helped England Women to comfortably post 160 for four.
“I was leading the team for the first time and I’ve got a lot of takeaways from it. As a captain, I’ve to learn from the mistakes I made today else I won’t learn. I won’t be able to improve as a captain,” she said after the match.
“We had two sets of plans for each batter if the first wasn’t working we were going to the second plan. We’ll plan better and I’ll be more pro-active next time,” she added.
Chasing the mammoth total, Indian top order was not able to provide a good start as they lost three quick wickets. England at regular intervals kept on taking wickets and India fell like a pack of cards.
“In the opening, we lost a wicket in the third over, then I too lost my wicket. So there was a difference in the start which was visible on the scoreboard,” she said.
“In T20s two wickets should not fall in the span of three or four balls. We lost our top three batters in the span of three balls. I think that makes the batting order look very thin. As a batting unit, we should take the responsibility to chase this kind of total,” Mandhana pointed out.
“As a batswoman, I feel top four are playing for a long time now. Me, Mithali (Raj), Jemimah (Rodrigues) we’ll have to take more responsibility to bat through and take the team through because we have to give cushions to youngsters,” the debut captain said.
India, with 0-1 down, will lock horns with England for the second T20I on March 7 at the same venue.