Euro 2020 Special
 

How Similar Are India’s Number 18s, Smriti Mandhana and Virat Kohli?

In world cricket, only a select few have ever reached the level Virat Kohli has in men’s cricket. Dubbed as the one who would surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s records, Kohli is a living legend who has achieved accolades that one would only dream of. It is no easy task to find Kohli’s equal in cricket, but if another player was to be considered an equal to him, it would be none other than India Women Cricket Team’s Smriti Mandhana.

Mandhana is the hard-hitter in the Indian Women squad. The 26-year-old southpaw is one of India’s most prolific batters and plays a crucial role as an opener. Sporting the no. 18 on her back, Mandhana has drawn multiple comparisons with her Men’s team counterpart, Virat Kohli. Her form and recent successes are somewhat parallel to Kohli’s. Mandhana played in the recently-concluded 2022 Birmingham Games, where she helped India win the silver medal in Women’s Cricket. She finished third in the most individual runs table, having scored the most sixes in the tournament.

Here we take a look at why we think that Mandhana is similar to Kohli when it comes to cricket.

 

Creating records like no other

Just like Kohli, Mandhana climbed through the ranks by earning success in under-19 cricket. She scored an unbeaten double century in a domestic ODI representing Maharashtra against Gujarat, which caught the eye of many. She became the first Indian woman to score a double century in an ODI game.

Virat Kohli won India the under-19 World Cup, which made him an exciting prospect for India’s future. The young Indian would then go on to lift the World Cup with his seniors in 2011, just three years after his junior league success. Kohli became the second-ever Indian to lift both the under-19 as well as the senior World Cup.

 

Master of chasing targets

The two No.18s of India have proven to be reliable while chasing targets, especially in T20I. Virat Kohli has scored over 1,700 runs while chasing in T20I cricket, the most by an Indian. Smriti Mandhana, on the other hand, has scored over 1,000 runs while chasing in T20I cricket, the most by an Indian in Women’s cricket.

In 2021, she became the first-ever player to smash ten straight fifties in Women’s ODI while chasing a game against South Africa. No player in the men’s or women’s division has ever done so. Talk about creating records!

 

Sharing a common favourite opponent

It seems like even their stats have something in common. Both Kohli and Mandhana have a huge portion of their T20I runs against England and Australia. Kohli, having scored over 3,300 runs in T20I, has scored 718 and 589 against the Aussies and the Three Lions, respectively. Mandhana, on the other hand, having scored over 2,000 T20I runs, has scored almost 500 runs each against the two nations.

 

Great expectations from India’s No. 18

As per numerology, the number 18 signifies great success. It must have been a coincidence that this number was bestowed upon two of India’s most prolific (active) players. Virat Kohli has had a brilliant career and has achieved accolades like no other. Whereas, Smriti Mandhana has been ever reliable for India Women ever since she donned the Blue Indian jersey.

Kohli and Mandhana are perhaps the only players who have made the number 18 as significant as the number 10. Since the departure of Sachin Tendulkar from cricket, the BCCI made an official announcement to retire the number due to the pressure it might incur on the successor. Knowing the incomparable accomplishments of the Master Blaster, it was indeed a wise decision by the BCCI.

Likewise, number 18 will perhaps go down as the second-most important jersey number that future generations will have to strive for. Especially when instead of one, two players donned it and rocked the cricket world with their perseverance and success.

Also Read: Oldest Players to Have Made Their International Debuts in All Formats of the Game

 

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