Mandhana relishing return to Hobart
India star Smriti Mandhana hopes the runs flow again as she returns to Blundstone Arena for this weekend's WBBL action
14 December 2018, 03:02 PM AEST
India star Smriti Mandhana hopes to create more fond memories at Blundstone Arena when she walks out onto the ground in the Hobart Hurricanes purple for the first time this weekend.
Mandhana scored her first international century at the venue in early 2016, posting 102 from 109 deliveries in a one-day international against Australia.
She followed that performance with a 52-ball 55 at the same venue – setting up an Indian victory in the process – and the 22-year-old expressed her fondness for the Hobart ground this week as she prepared for Saturday's Rebel WBBL showdown with the Sydney Sixers.
"I scored my first international century here, so that was one reason why I wanted to come back to Hobart," Mandhana said. "I've had some good memories from Hobart."
Mandhana's first match for the Hurricanes resulted in a second-ball duck against the Stars in Burnie on Saturday but she made up for it on Sunday, powering her way to 69 from just 41 deliveries.
This season is Mandhana's second in the Big Bash but her first with the Brisbane Heat in WBBL|02 didn't go as she'd hoped, with the India vice-captain scoring just 89 runs in 10 innings before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.
She admitted she'd felt some trepidation about returning to the competition for WBBL|04, but said she'd been convinced by India's coaching staff that taking up the offer to play with the Hurricanes would ultimately benefit her cricket.
"I had that in my mind but as a player you need to come out of your comfort zone," Mandhana said.
"All my coaches said you need to go, if you want to develop as a player you need to leave your comfort zone."
Mandhana didn't quite reach the lofty heights she aspires to in the recent World T20 in the Caribbean, passing fifty just once, but has been in excellent form throughout 2018.
She scored three half-centuries in India's tri-series against Australia and England in March and carried that form to the United Kingdom, where she hit her maiden T20 hundred and struck an 18-ball half-century while playing for Western Storm in England's Super League.
With the next T20 World Cup to be played on Australian soil in February-March 2020, Mandhana hopes her experience in the WBBL and Super League will have her well-positioned to help India improve on their semi-final appearance in Antigua.
"As a player you need to come out of comfort zone … when you come out and play in the WBBL or the KSL (England Super League) there are different expectations of you as a foreign player," she said.
"And (dealing with those expectations) helps when you play in big tournaments like a World Cup."
Hobart meet Sydney Sixers at Blundstone Arena on Saturday night from 7pm AEDT, before meeting the same opposition at the same venue on Sunday from 1.50pm.
Hobart Hurricanes squad: Sasha Moloney (c), Brooke Hepburn (vc), Stefanie Daffara, Ashley Day, Erin Fazackerley, Katelyn Fryett, Corinne Hall, Alex Hartley, Mikayla Hinkley, Heather Knight, Smriti Mandhana, Meg Phillips, Veronica Pyke, Rhiann O’Donnell, Georgia Redmayne