Smriti Mandhna and Harman in Talk Show P-2






Yes… I missed Ms. Trupti a lot. I constantly called up all my friends and family and spoke with them for half hour or so. They were all shocked that I am calling them so many times. You didn’t care for them when you were in India. I realized the value of people then. I mean, the value of people who care for you. – You must have felt the same. – Of course. Because when you go out of the country, you miss them a lot. And when we go on a tour as a team after ten days, we get bored of one another. [Vikram laughing] That’s when you realize…
Do you remember matches against England in Nagpur? We played like four months continuously. We went to South Africa, then we came back and played Australia in Baroda we came down here for a tri-series and the last leg of ten days was left – and we played one-day matches at Nagpur. – Vikram: Yes. Literally, we were like, “Don’t show your face”. – [Vikram laughing] – Get lost. I mean, I was counting the number of days to go home. – Seven days to go. Six days to go. – Harmanpreet: So true. It’s good that it was not during the match. You telling the non-striker to go home. Well, we are very professional. We didn’t do it during the match. After the match, while having breakfast, we used to do it. “Please go, I can’t stand your face anymore.” Here comes an important question.
I’m sure others would’ve asked this before. I’m going to ask, too. Being world number one is a great feeling, isn’t it? It’s a far-fetched dream for people like us. So, my question is, this feeling of nobody is better than me… Have you ever felt that way? – Vikram: No? – No, not yet. Vikram: What was your reaction when you learnt it the first time? More than being the world number one, when they declared the ICC awards – well, I don’t get excited easily. – Vikram: I see. I don’t get either excited or disappointed, I mean… – Average. – Vikram: Fantastic. – You can ask her, if you want. – She doesn’t know what she’s saying. I stay in between. I don’t get over excited. But when I learnt that I’ve won an award.
I put my mum, dad and brother on a conference call. I called up my mum and put her on hold and then called up my dad and brother. I was like, “I’ve won this award”. My brother said, “How come you won it?” [Vikram laughing] Very funny. A score of 171. I guess, you both love playing against Australia. When Kapil Dev scored 175 against Zimbabwe at Trunbridge Wells it changed the perspective of Indian Men’s cricket completely. That India can win from any position, especially, in the context of World Cup. And when you scored 171 everybody started saying Indian Women’s Cricket is something different. You felt that way, too? I realized it after long. Because when we came back from the World Cup plenty of things were happening around me after scoring 171 runs in the World Cup. People started recognizing me. – I got a lot of attention. – Vikram: Amazing. We had a break of three months after the World Cup. We didn’t play any matches during that time.
We started to get more crowd at the stadium and such things were absolutely new to us. Before that, we used to play in empty stadiums and go home. Only our families knew that we were playing cricket. But nobody else had a clue. Did you get any benefits out of it? Benefits? I would get things for free, you know. Wherever I went, people recognized me and reminded me of my score and offered me free meals. I didn’t pay the bill when I visited restaurants, with a friend. I used to go everywhere. I didn’t have to pay extra money for excessive luggage in flights. I think, it went on like this for a while. To this day, I mean… People remember that inning and talk to me about it. And it surprises me. It will come handy when she writes her autobiography. A question like, “What motivated you to score 171 runs?” Free t-shirts! Did you have any such experience? After she scored 171 in the World Cup I too got some attention.. – Perhaps we look similar in the jersey. – Vikram: Really? People have walked up to me and started the conversation with 171. And I would say no… I would tell them it’s not me. And several times people have greeted me with ‘Sat Sri Akaal’.
And I have told them that I’m not Harman. I’m sure you both must have taken advantage of this situation. It happened quite recently. I was heading back home, few days ago. When I took out my boarding pass, there were a lot of people an employee of the airport walked up to me and said “Smriti…” I didn’t say anything for the next few minutes. He said, “Let me help you.” After he helped me, I told him that I’m Harman. He said, “I’m really sorry. I thought you’re Smriti.” I said to him that I’m Harman. He said, “I don’t mind helping you either.” Well, you both have benefitted from it. Vikram: Very good. I have a question for you both. As a kid, when I used to play cricket, years back obviously. There was this girl and she was the best player in the group. I mean, she was amazing. And she destroyed the male ego of all the boys living in that building. And they used to tease her because of that but I had done something strategic. I became friends with her. I used to always win matches because she was in my team. Obviously, when girls start doing good then the dynamics of male ego would come into the picture.
Has it happened with you? It has happened several times. Because… We had a team of our own and we used to practice among ourselves thrice a week. And we used to play a match with other teams as well, for fun. Other teams didn’t play against us because I was a part of the boys’ team. Oh, like that? And when we asked them why, they’d say “What if she gets hurt?” I had great friends, they didn’t play any matches without me. [Vikram laughing] But later on when they realized that I’m a good player they too became competitive. And then we had some good matches. When I hit them for a six or a boundary they used to tease each other. I used to have fun for good one and half month. Speaking of sixes, from where did you get the training of hitting sixes? Hugh sixes. 90 metres long. How did you manage to hit? I learnt to hit sixes from my dad. My dad used to score most of his runs in sixes. While watching him play, I never looked down always looked up, because he hit every ball in the air. That style of batting influenced me and I thought ball should always fly in the air, not move on the ground. [Vikram laughing] Although it was club cricket many people turned up to watch the match.
You know, a very big crowd. So, everybody would wait for my dad to show up to hit sixes. The crowd enjoyed his batting. So, as a kid, I thought people like to see a batsman hitting sixes and not take singles. – So, it’s better to hit 90 metre sixes. – No. Then what about you? You come from a family of cricketers. They must have said, “Only 125 not out?” [Vikram and Harmanpreet laughing] In your previous question, you talked about girls playing gully cricket. I had an advantage of being a girl. They would make me a joker. I would get a chance to play for both the sides, but no fielding. Vikram: That’s why you are a good batsman. They used to make me joker and I’d open batting for both the sides. – Vikram: And you used to score the runs? – Yes, I would… They must have thought that they would get her out quickly but I guess their plan backfired. I used to set the score and chase that as well. – You always had support from the family? – Smriti: Yes…
I think it was more of their dream that I play for India, than mine. Because my brother used to play and I used to play too. I mean… All credit goes to my dad and mum. My mom was so strict as far as my diet was concerned. She insisted on eating only certain things and pushed me to play well. – You know, so… – Vikram: I see. Otherwise, you would’ve enjoyed your sleep. [Smriti laughing] I guess, I would have only batted. I mean, I was very passionate about batting. I wasn’t interested in fitness, fielding… So, you were one of those people who used to bat and when you got out, you’d take the bat and run away… I used to take my brother’s bat to play gully-cricket but came back home as soon as I got out. – Not good… – Harmanpreet: Typical batsman. Are you both superstitious? I know a lot of players who wear the left pad first and even with the tapings, you see. Like, Jose Butler doesn’t eat onion rings during the match. There are so many superstitions. Do you have any? I was quite superstitious before my injury. Like not taking the leg guard first. – Vikram: I see. – Entering the ground from the right side. You know, as openers, we go together – always staying on right, not left. – Vikram: Okay.
I had so many superstitions, but not anymore… Vikram: Not because of camera, right? I never thought about it, but no. So, basically, you are walking like this – you have to be this person. – I’ve to be on the right side. I was superstitious earlier. I had to be on the right side. Once Ms. Mithali and I were opening the innings and she was already standing to my right you know, I went around her and stood on her right. It happened around four years ago. Our support staff is more superstitious than us. – Vikram: Support staff? – Yes, support staff. You know, if the match has started and if we are doing well, they wouldn’t move an inch and they would not allow anybody else to move around either. “Don’t move the chair, put that thing back on the table.” For instance, if you go to our physio to get your back released. – If you have a match tomorrow – [Harmanpreet laughing] and you score a century.
Then she will call you back to release your back again. I told her my back is fine. ??He’s like that. You know, male players are superstitious about jersey numbers. I once asked Rahul Dravid why he wears the number 19 on his jersey. He replied, “It’s the best way to remember my wife’s birthday.” Well, that is different. But people are very superstitious about their jersey, were you? Actually, my initial number was 84. In the whole of Punjab it’s considered as an unlucky number. Ever since I was a kid, I heard stories about this number. And that it was a tough year for Punjab. So, I used to think why everybody considers it as unlucky.
My dad always refuse things attached to 84. His favorite number is 86. He always told me that any number will do except 84. It was my first camp. All the seniors chose their numbers first numbers like, 7, 77, everything was gone. I had to pick a number and I had to return the paper as well. I said to myself, “They are not going to select me, anyway.” So, I wrote 84 and returned the paper. Then I got a phone call saying that I’m selected. Everybody at home were happy. I went back to the camp. It was my first camp. When I looked at my t-shirt, 84 was written on it. [Vikram laughing] I was quiet for a while thinking about how to face my parents. And I was supposed to send them a photo wearing my jersey. It was my first jersey, so there was no escaping. I didn’t know what to do.
Then I sent a photo of the front side of the jersey. I took a selfie and sent it to them. But when he saw the number on TV he was like, “Didn’t you find any other number?” He pestered me for years to change the number. – Finally, I changed it. – Vikram: You changed it. I’ve read somewhere that you watch a lot of video analysis. You see a lot of things. And someone mentioned to me that Smriti actually figured out her grip when she was watching a video or talking to a coach, is that true? Let me tell you a story. Were we roommates in Sri Lanka? – Sri Lanka? – We were in an apartment? – Yes. – We were roommates. So, she and Jemi, we are a group of five people who have a lot of fun. They both came to the room with a bat in their hands. When I asked them what’s wrong, they said, “We just watched a video”.
They had a tennis ball and a bat too. And they were batting inside the room. [Vikram laughing] I fell asleep because we had just arrived. And when I woke up at around 1 a.m, they were still playing. And when I questioned them, they said “Nothing. We watched Jemi’s video and we’re correcting each other’s faults.” And then I asked them “You guys never slept?” They were practicing all night. Oh, God! Never share a room with her. [Smriti and Harmanpreet laughing] No, it has happened only a few times. Generally, if I’m batting well, I don’t really watch videos. I just play. But if I’m struggling or something is wrong with my timing that’s when I ask the person to clip my videos. And when I look at my video, I get a feeling that someone else is batting with a different stance. You’re one of the few people who change stance with every match. I really don’t know what goes wrong. My life would have been much easier if I knew why. We can only get assistance from the videos. So, Jemi and I watch videos. She has a similar problem too. Whenever we get together and watch our videos we tell each other that you watch my video and I’ll watch yours.
She has a bat on which she has written ‘Grip’. I had such a shaky grip that I bought a dummy bat and put a tape on it and marked a ‘V’ on it. If there is any change… She used to hold it early in the morning to make sure her grip is okay. – It used to deviate so much. – Vikram: Wow! Now that we’ve checked your mental strength let’s check your physical strength. We are going to play a game called ‘The hammer game’. Current world number one versus longest six hitter in the world. – What are we going to get in return? – Love. Lots of love. – Vikram: Shall we? – Sure. This is the hammer game. Lot of records have been broken and set here. – Smriti, would you like to start first? – I never take strike. Okay. I’ll go first. Look at her spirit. – I should hit here, right? – Yes. Leg stump, please. Come on. Bravo… My goodness. Well done… What a shot! Come on…
Smriti Mandhna and Harman in Talk Show P-2 Smriti Mandhna and Harman in Talk Show P-2 Reviewed by Me on March 07, 2020 Rating: 5

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