If I’d go to heat my milk, it’d fall down. I’d break the cups. She would open the hinges of the door. – Fully. – Yes, she wanted to try it. I used to do that. I used to think I’m the carpenter. And I used to have loose change… …in one pocket. I used to do that work of opening it… …and then I used to ask for payment. I would take it from this pocket and put it in another. This was my earned money. These are some of stupid, stupid… …things I would do during my childhood. Like, I don’t know. She never played with dolls. If I suggested a dance class, …she’d say, “I don’t want to dance. Who goes to dance classes?” She didn’t want to go to drawing classes. She would say no for everything. Just the bat and ball. Mom was working on something and I was like… …knocking with the bat. The ball went the other way… …and hit mom straight on the forehead. She would break tubelights, …break the lights. She would throw the ball, aim and… …hit it directly on the aim. I would throw the ball and dive on the bed. I used to catch it. And I used to celebrate as if it was Sachin sir’s wicket. I used to play with a hanging ball. I would run as if it’s my 100th run. And then… …behave like I’m removing the helmet. I’m like, you know. She would practice giving interviews to people. She would practice picking up the world cup trophy. Smiling like this. Cricket actually means everything to me. I think a lot of people say this but… …for me, it is literally everything because… …it has actually taught me a lot about life. About how I have to be as a person. Whenever I needed… …to get out of any problem. Like, batting is actually something that… …gets me out of any of my mindspaces. That way, cricket is like literally everything for me. In Sangli, Maharashtra, people say… …Srinivas Sir and Smita Madam’s girl, …she is a star! Where did she start? This is where I started. Actually, Dad and I used to come first. Me, my brother and my dad. I used to just pick up balls for my brother. We used to practice just right there. There was a cement wicket there, so… …I used to stand behind the net. I would wait for him to finish one round and… …I used to go and pick up balls for him because… …dad would think that I’d get hurt. I was only allowed to do hanging ball. We could not afford that many leather balls. Plastic balls, tennis balls, leather ball. So we used to like, till almost one or two o’clock… …till my mom calls, I used to like, keep practicing. I really annoyed my coach. It was like… …his shoulder is pretty precious to me. I used to keep telling him. I’ve bowled at least 2 lakh or 3 lakh balls. – At least, till now. – That’s coach Anant? Anant, yeah. I remember one instance. When he was giving me catches for the first time. When I was a kid, I’d said… …that I don’t like fielding. Just batting. He told me to take catches, so I said, “Fine, give them.” I used to just drop them. I kept dropping them. And he said, “What is this girlish fielding?” So after that, I was like… …I took the ball, I threw it and… …I said, “Don’t ever call me a girl again!” And I just walked off, I don’t know why. So, that is one instance which I remember. But otherwise, I don’t think he’s ever… …told me anything. He’s been very understanding… …with whatever it is. I remember one time. After the Sri Lanka tour, I had.. I didn’t have a good tour. And I come back, and I was.. I told him that I’ll take an off from cricket… …for three or four days, I won’t play. But you can’t sleep if you don’t bat well. So the next day, I called him and said… …”Come to the ground.” So he comes and I was just… …trying to hit the ball towards covers and it was going to midwicket. The ones aimed for midwicket were going to covers. My batting had gotten that bad. I couldn’t understand what had happened. And again, we were.. Both of us were really there on the ground. And we were just trying to understand what went wrong. And he just came up to me and said, “Something is wrong with you.” “Not technique.” Something is wrong here. I think you just need some break. And I just broke down. First time ever, I just broke down. I’m not understanding what is happening. He understood it in two minutes. He said, “Don’t you dare come to the ground… …or go to the gym for the next few days.” “Just stay at home and… …go out if you want to.” So you sat at home and heard songs by Arijit? I went to every website and… …searched and watched all the Marvel movies. At what age did you think… …that, “This is serious stuff, boss.” “This is going to be my career.” Um.. I think when I was 14 or 15. 14, maybe. When I played the first match… …and debuted for my senior state side. I don’t exactly remember the age. But, maybe I was 15. And in the first match, I scored a century. Against Saurashtra. At BKC. That time, I was like, “Okay.” I’m okay, maybe. You know? I can actually think about… …playing cricket professionally. I used to love cricket. I used to play it professionally. It was the pre-world cup camp. Senior Indian Side. They had put five youngsters in that. And I was one of the youngsters. Like, with Mithu [Mithali] Di and all. I was 16. 15, 16 or something. We were having that camp at Guntoor. And, I was just watching Jhulu Di [Jhulan Goswami] and Mithu Di… …and all these guys and… …those guys were like, small girls coming… …to them and asking for autographs. And I was just a youngster… …and I used to wait in the afternoon to.. The seniors would have a match and… …later on they would just add us. So in the afternoon, we didn’t have anything. I used to just go outside the window, I used to see… …how they are practicing. When I saw all these things, I was like… …these guys are way ahead. I’m nothing like them. So I went back and told my dad… …”Dad, this is serious stuff.” “I want to, you know.” “I want to play for India. I want to do this.” “I want to do what these guys are doing.” You claim to be very fidgety. But when you played the Under-19, …you didn’t struggle at all. Double hundred! None of that was defense there! I was still fidgety! Like that! Catching balls here for two years. Practicing with Anant sir. Batting for hours and hours. Finally, the day came. Against Bangladesh. Yes, yes. It was in India? Right? You don’t remember your ODI debut? I mean.. Like, I remember playing. But I don’t remember the venue that much. And actually, two days back I googled it. The date that I had my debut. It was.. What was I doing? I was watching some interview of some cricketer… …and he was talking about debut, so I was like… …I need to know the date of my debut. But still, again. I googled it day before. It was some March, but I still forgot the exact date. – Remember the venue? – Venue.. Ahmedabad. Yeah, right, right! Baroda and Ahmedabad. – I think we played ODIs in Baroda. – Correct. Yes, yes, yes. Actually, the thing with that tour was… …that time all the seniors were rested. I think it was straight away from the 2013 World Cup. A lot of youngsters were given the opportunity. There were eight or nine new people in that team. So I don’t why, but when I got selected… …I didn’t consider it selected for India. I felt like I’m playing more of India A. So that’s why I don’t think about that debut that much. When I got selected for Sri Lanka, …all the seniors were there. That time, I felt that this was it. It was a proper debut. So yeah, that’s why that Bangladesh thing. And till we played the match, we didn’t know it was an official match. Official, as in it was an official match. But if it’ll be counted as international or not. So our cap distribution hadn’t been done. Because no one was sure if… …if was considered as a… …ODI or if it’s just a one day match. So for you, it’s always about the feel. The feeling came later? Yes, in Sri Lanka, I was like… …when I was in the dressing room with all my… …seniors around, and all that feeling… …made me realize that I’m playing for India. Who gave the cap? No, I told you that… …what happened was in Bangladesh… …I didn’t know anything. In Sri Lanka… …I had my debut. Bangladesh, they weren’t sure… …if this is my debut. If international is counted. And when we went to Sri Lanka, we’re like.. We realized those things are counted. What was the point of giving the cap in Sri Lanka? So nobody gave me a cap. But at the Test debut, …I got the cap. But I don’t remember from who. Give her some memory boosting food! I’ll tell you about the Test debut, again. The thing is…. …there’s only Mithali, Jhulan and Karuna. Karuna… …from the team who had played Test before. So they were like… …eight cap distributions. Like, Jhulu Di, she had also… …played India for five years but she had not done a Test debut. So she was also given a cap with me. She’s six years senior to me. So it just felt like that… …it was a free-for-all, with everybody getting caps. Literally, eight people were getting caps. India caps, during the Test. Because we were playing Test after a 10-year gap. So there were only Mithali, Jhulan and Karuna giving caps to everybody. So the batters were distributed to… …Mithali, bowlers were for Jhulan and… …one keeper for.. I don’t know keeper. Jhulan also gave to somebody. Just say that you don’t remember. That was 2014! That’s like.. Your name is Smriti, and it means memory. And your memory is weak. That’s fine. All my friends… …my school friends keep on ragging me… …that Smriti means memory. And my memory is like… …that I forget what I ate last night. Or my friends will say… …that we did so and so during vacations. And I’m like, “Yes, we must have done that.” So people also misuse this… …and take advantage of me because… …if we have a small fight or something with friends… …or school friends or something. I won’t remember what happened. So they’ll say that I did something. And I would not have done it, …but then I’m like, maybe I did do it and don’t remember. So my friends take advantage of this… …and I think it’s better to have a bad memory. Because I get over things easily. Because.. Easily, and… If something bad ever upsets me, …it’s just for a day. More than that… …there’s no second day. Once I sleep on it… …for a solid eight hours at night… …I think after that, I’m fine. Yeah, I remember cricketing part of all the matches! I’ve good memory with cricketing. I’ll remember what I did in the matches. Sometimes I forget how I got out. Like, the match will happen and I’ll come out and sit. I’ll wonder how I got out. She’s like, Smriti! Please! You just got out like, ten overs back. So, how does this fidgety young girl… …play Test cricket? Don’t you get bored of it? – Stay still for the whole day. – No, dude! I love the… …feeling of playing Test cricket. I have just played two Test matches. But.. Yeah! I was also surprised. My dad wondered how I’ll play a Test match. “You have to leave the ball in that.” Like literally, he was like… …how do you leave a ball. I had actually practiced how to leave a ball, …before going to that Test match. So I had actually put a stump… …on the fourth stump mark. I kept a stump on the fourth stump… …and I told the coach to throw it to the side. And I was just trying to leave the ball. Because.. I’ve never done that. And I went like that to bat, and I’m… …used to a normal field. Over there, three slips, one gully and all that. I was like, “There’s a gap here, and there!” I could see so many big gaps around. So I was loving playing Test cricket more. And that feel, of having a short leg, three slips… …white clothes with like… …that English wicket, grassy wicket. Batting with the team like… …getting the team out of that situation. All those things, I love it. What’s been your best knock? So far? I think, I got one… …80 runs. 82, I’m not sure exactly. But 80 something runs in Nagpur. Against England. Uh, I know I have centuries and all… …but this knock was really special because… …as I said, I have this game. Free-flowing game. But that wicket was… …a turner, like.. The ball was jumping all over the place. Because, you know.. It was a turning wicket… …made for the English batters. And we batted at the second, so the wicket had deteriorated. Like, literally. And especially, as a leftie, you get a lot of… …foot marks because from over-the-wicket bowlers. So it was like, …the left arm spinner’s balls were wide. From here, the helmet or the pad. And we were like, almost.. I don’t remember… …but four down in 30 or 40 runs. And we were chasing 180 only. Not much, …but 180 on that wicket was like… …240, 250 on a good wicket. So I was really under stress that… …I need to play a… …very different kind of a role and… …I’ve to defend a lot of balls. That defense in that inning is like… …six or seven, which my Dad was like… “We should put dead defense in your highlights today.” “We shouldn’t put any shots.” Yeah, that way I won the match from there and I got… …out on 82, but I scored those 82… …and actually I got a standing ovation. Jhulu Di actually came up to me and… …said, “I know that you have mostly”… …”aggressive knocks but this knock”… …”has been your best knock till now.” Star Batter. Terror with the Bat. But you got injured while bowling. Why did you bowl? Why did you have to bowl? So, this question was asked a lot of times. All my teammates were so angry at me. Especially Jhulu Di. She said, “This is your karma.” Because whenever they would ask me to bowl in nets, …I used to bowl them here and there so that… …they would stop me. I didn’t want to be bowling for… …hours inside the net at all. So I used to bowl one ball here, one ball there. And then I used to get off. Actually, when I fell… …while bowling, when it happened. I fell and I was like, World Cup. Because I knew it is like, …since I could hear it as soon as it happened. Something is major. I called up my physio and I was like.. First thing I asked, “Will I be able to play World Cup?” She said, “Smriti, let’s at least do an MRI first!” I said, “No, tell me if I’ll be able to.” And then a flying start to the World Cup. Yeah, and then! What happened there? Because your World Cup story is in two parts. Yes, it’s in two parts. What happened suddenly? I also don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out what… …but I don’t know. I was the batting the way I always batted before. 23rd June. See, I remember the date! When I have to remember, I remember it. I got surgery done on 23rd Feb. So I had exactly five months before I… …played the first match of the World Cup. When I used to take a shower and all, I used to be like… …I used to actually answer questions. Like, this was a really tough time for me. The last five months, and you know.. I’m happy that I got over it. That I am here and… …I am standing and taking this award. All these things, I would just imagine. Five months, I’ve imagined 23rd June. So when I actually had that knock against England, …I wondered if it was really happening. But I didn’t say anything that I practiced. I said something else altogether… …when they asked me the questions. And in the next match, I scored a century. My Twitter was deleted at that time, and Instagram I don’t even remember. I just knew that… …one day I was on 2000 followers, …and in five days, I had 299K followers. I thought that people had gone mad. It’s like how you bat. Quickfire. So I don’t remember what happened after that. Something happened, maybe… …my role was just meant for that much only. But things changed for Women’s Cricket that day. In India. It was like, the whole country was watching. Did you get a sense this was happening in India while being there? I remember that two batches of people were coming… …from England because we.. No one expected us to be in the finals. So our tickets were already booked… …for after the group matches. So when ICC did our tickets… …for after the finals, they had… …to make two groups. Because the tickets weren’t available. So I come out with the trolley, …and we got pushed back inside! Harry was beside me and I was like, …it feels like we’ve done something. It feels like we’ve won the World Cup. It’s that crazy. There were reporters and all. I quietly went away to sit… …and sat in the corner because I was like… …they’ll ask why I haven’t done anything in seven matches. So I was sitting in the corner nicely, not talking to anyone. Yeah, I love driving. Whenever I come back, …I go on long drives a lot. I would actually coach Shravan. I used to take him to the grounds. She would say that she wanted to come too. We wouldn’t take her because she was young. So she’d go sit there at 5 o’clock. “I have to come!” So we would have to take her along. At the age of 4? We had to take her along and… …she would stand behind the net. She would see how Shravan is batting. In the last five-ten minutes of the session, …she would say, “Dad, I want to bat too.” She would forcefully start batting. So I would sit ahead of Dad. We had a scooty back then. So my brother would sit behind, and I would sit in front of Dad. With my head put down. So he could see the road ahead. She would dominate everybody. – Us as well. – Yes. Very dominating kid. If my school dress wasn’t ready on time… …ironed, in the morning… …I’d throw a tantrum. I wanted everything perfect. I would polish my school shoes at night. She was the kind to sit on the stairs… …because the auto hadn’t come. She would… …scold the auto driver as well. “I’ve been waiting so long, why are you late?” Yeah, I changed so many autos and tempos, six seven of them. My dad used to have a business… …for sports. Business as in, supplying sports goods. So the cross [cork] balls.. That’s what they’re called? – Cork balls. – Cork balls! So dad had some leftover balls. There were 100 balls, and the carton… …was in the basement between the… …first floor and second floor. I don’t know, but as a kid I was very fascinated… …with the way paper falls after burning. So I used to be entertained by it. So, Mom would sleep… … around 2 o’clock or something… …so I would go out with matchsticks. I would burn the papers and throw them. I don’t why that made me happy. When I think back, I think how stupid it was. Then I thought, why use small pieces… …if I can use a bigger one. So I burnt a bigger paper and… …I kept doing it for half an hour… …till some heat started coming from downstairs. And I’m wondering what happened. I was 9 years old or something. I’m wondering why is there some smell coming from downstairs. So I went to check in the basement. And I said, “It’s caught fire!” It was literally burning… …because it was synthetic material. It was made of cork, right? The entire carton had caught on fire. I wasn’t smart. When you’re young… …your brain doesn’t think that way. I took a piece of paper and… …started fanning the flames. It actually picked up! Because obviously, and I’m thinking what to do now. So, I was so stressed that… …it felt like the end of the world. I was so stressed about what to do. I said, “Let it go.” I went, and didn’t wake either of them up. I went and slept so I wouldn’t get scolded. Then they woke up and wondered what the smell was. And I was just looking at them… …wondering what they’re looking at. And then.. As if she doesn’t know anything. Like I just saw you. Then mom and dad came. Dad said, “It’s on fire.” Then dad got a… …bucket and put out the fire. I was just thinking, “Smriti… …you’re so stupid, why didn’t you put water?” I just wondered why I didn’t put water on it. – She was so fond of chocolates! – Chocolates. We used to think that somebody could… …could easily kidnap her by just… …giving her a chocolate. I used to take bribes from all… …my friends. If they needed some work done… …or setting them up or solving a fight… …I would say I’ll do it for a 5-star. Or if I guy had to propose to a girl… …in school, like when we’re children… …I would say, “I’ll set you up for 50 5-stars.” Any guy that would propose to me or something… …like how kids are in school. “I like you and all.” I would say, “Leave that… …if you give me 50 5-stars, I’ll think about it.” When did both of you feel… …that she’ll play for India, that she has serious talent? It’s one thing to play for passion… …and another to make a career. When was that? Actually, what happened was that… …we didn’t want her to be a cricketer. We didn’t want her to be a cricketer, …our focus was mostly on Shravan. What happened later was that… …she was batting quite well… …and I felt that… …she’ll do well in this area. We discussed her playing tennis for now… …because tennis had Under-9, Under-10. So she could play tennis, …and then start cricket later if she wanted to. When it was time for her to be Under-19. She said, “Alright, I’ll play tennis… …because you’re saying so.” “But I’ll play cricket later on for sure.” So I said forget it. Just leave tennis and play cricket then. The first time they got a call, …it was, “Your daughter plays well… …and we saw her on the ground.” “Selections for Under-15 are happening.” So mom told that let her go, …and that I’ll quit if I don’t get selected. Mom sent me for it. Dad came with me… …because I was 9 years, and I got selected. Played in a year and opened the batting also. And my mom is like, “What do we do now?” “Okay fine, just go play now.” So when the India debut happened, …you felt like now… …she’ll break the bowlers instead of the house. – Right? – You’re right. That’s how it was. How did it feel when she played for India for the first time? India cap. India jersey. It was unbelievable. – We were so happy. – So happy. Elated! I mean, my dream has come true. When I used to play cricket, …I didn’t get a chance. Shravan didn’t get a chance either. My wish was that one of my children… …should play for India. One of my most heartfelt wishes. That they have to play for India. She’s made a theatre at home for you. That’s true. She made everything, the entire house! Actually. That must have been an emotional moment. That your daughter built such a big house. I would drop her on a two-wheeler when she… …was small and when we would see a bungalow, …I would want a house like that. She would say, “Mom, we’ll have one too.” We’ll have one too. I thought she’s so young and talking like this. – She used to say that. – Yes, she did. So now she’s busy… …and got managers around her… …and endorsements and the media. Do you still have the pressure… …to get your degree? I’ve probably filled the form for exams… …ten times by now. But I will definitely get it. She’ll get a degree, but later. “Dad, forget the degree, I got home the Arjuna Award.” That has happened. Right? That’s okay, no? I don’t think they’d mind even if I’m in first year forever. But I’ve gone to a scholar friend’s house one time. For dinner. Their mother asked, in the way mothers tend to… …”How are your studies going, child?” So I feel weird saying, “I’m still in the second year, aunty.” And her daughter has become a doctor! Same age, same school. So I feel I should at least be able to say… …that I have a B.Com degree. If you have to look for Smriti Mandhana in Sangli, …this is the best place. Yes, yes. Definitely. I think whenever I’m in Sangli, …I come from the tour at least twice. I come here, either for dinner or… …maybe a meet and great session. So, yeah. This is the best place to find me in Sangli. That’s the basic reason behind this cafe. – Shall we? – Yes, yes. You should come in. But you are the guest! Your approach to cricket is very simple. See the ball, hit the ball. That’s what you have to do in Spicy Quotient. Hear the question, answer it. That’s all. If you ask easy questions, …then my job will be easier. Nothing is difficult for Smriti, dude! – Let’s start? – Yup. The most mischievous player in the Indian Women’s Cricket? What does that mean? – Mischievous, funny. – Jemi, Jemi. – Why? – Right now. Keeps doing something or the other. Keeps troubling everyone in the room. The quietest? I was, for the first two three years. But I don’t think I can say that for the last two years. Deepti, maybe? Who are you most scared of in the team? – Jhulu Di! – Jhulu Di. Right? If calories weren’t an issue, …and if you could eat whatever you want… …what is the one thing that you would eat… …everyday? If there’s nothing about calories and fitness, …then I would keep eating all of this stuff. Favourite Hrithik Roshan movie? Dhoom 2. – Yeah? – Yeah, Dhoom 2. I’ve watched it a number of times. If you were a judge of a cooking show, …how would you want the contestants to impress you? I think by the taste of the food only. What is the one thing you hate eating? Mom’s healthy cooking. Iron Man, Thor or Captain America? Just because… …Iron Man killed Thanos, so Iron Man. Respond in one word or one sentence… …when I say these names or things. – Virat Kohli. – Jersey No. 18. – Dhoni. – Calm and composed person. – Rahul Dravid? – The Wall! First thing that comes is that only. – Harmanpreet. – PS Partner. – Jemi? – Roomie, like best roomie. The worst thing about being a celebrity. I don’t think there is much. I always try to look at the positive side of it. But sometimes if you are… …not scored runs and… …you know that people know you’ve not scored. To face people at that time, …I think that is something which… …I feel a bit shy about. – Food? – Food is love for me. Life. Life and love, everything it is. That’s all for now, thank you sir! Bless you! So the big ones? Big ones.. Runner Up Medal. From the World Cup. Pretty soon, this silver will change to gold. Yes, hopefully. Let’s see. There’s a dialogue from Dangal like that. Then yes, this Arjuna Award I got this last year. Which you couldn’t go and collect? No, I didn’t go and collect… …because I was Sri Lanka and playing against Sri Lanka. So yeah, I just went like.. Only this has come? This is the Team of the Year of 2016. I was the first Indian to get into Team of the Year. This was the first year… …where they actually started Women’s Team of the Year.