After propelling Western Storm in the Kia Super League semi-finals, Indian international Smriti Mandhana, credited her success in England to addition of power-hitting to her game.
Under the guidance of her personal coach Anant Tambvekar, Mandhana followed a specific training routine to work on increasing her power to clear the ropes. Mandhana was the highest run-getter in the tournament with her 421 runs in 10 matches coming at an average of 60.14. Her run-scoring feat led her to being named as the player of the tournament.
"Earlier I didn't have that power to clear the rope. I used to deal a lot in boundaries than in sixes. Playing the lofted shots straight over the bowler's head was not really my strength," Mandhana told Cricketnext. "We had two to three buckets, and in each, there were 25 to 30 balls. Each bucket was for a certain delivery. So, I used to play at least 60 balls of lofted shots every day in Sangli (her hometown). Doing something regularly for a period of eight months helps. I got the confidence to execute those shots in matches."
India's fielding coach Biju George also improved the Indian opener's bat swing by making them bat against TAP conditioning balls from Australia.
"It's a very heavy ball. When you hit that ball, it stays on the bat for a longer duration. So, you have to hold the shape of your shot and you have to go through your body motion fully or else the ball won't clear. It will drop next to you, no matter how hard you hit it. After that when you hit the cricket ball, it goes the distance," Biju said
According to Mandhana, what helped her succeed in the KSL was not only her new-found ability to hit sixes at will, but also her decision to adapt better to her surroundings, open up to her teammates and having fun in England. During her interactions with her teammates, she picked up a few tricks of reverse sweep from Fran Wilson and Heather Knight while also learning from former male cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara.