She may have led the Indian Women's T20 squad in international matches on and off since 2019 but England captain Heather Knight says Smriti Mandhana found the pressure too much and struggled to manage captaincy during the recently-concluded Women's Premier League (WPL).
Mandhana found captaincy "quite tricky" during the WPL and struggled to manage the hype that came with the role, her Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Heather Knight has said.Knight, speaking on the latest 100% Cricket Podcast, suggested the hype surrounding the inaugural edition of the WPL and the pressure that comes with captaining a high-profile team affected Mandhana, whose side won just twice in eight matches.
Mandhana was charged with leading a side comprising international heavyweights in Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Dane van Niekerk, Megan Schutt and Knight herself, but RCB still finished fourth out of five teams.
"I know Smriti really well. I've played with her at Western Storm before and Hobart Hurricanes a few years ago, so I know [her] really well," Knight told Nasser Hussain and Frankie Mackay in the ICC 100% Cricket Podcast.
"I'm good friends with her. And I felt her at times actually, like the amount of pressure she was under was unlike probably no one has experienced before."Mandhana was signed up by RCB for INR 3.4cr the highest winning bid at the WPL auction earlier this year and was named captain of the side despite a relative lack of experience in the role.
She also struggled with the bat, scoring 149 runs in eight games, at an average of 18.62 and a strike rate of 111.19."The intensity and the pressure are so big on her out there. And I think she did find it tough, but I think she'll learn a huge amount from it, and be a better captain because of it," said Knight.
"I had a really good relationship with her on the field. I'd try and chip in, but ultimately she was running the show."She's quite a relaxed, calm captain. And certainly, one that wants to bring the group together.
Her role in the Indian side as the vice-captain is to bring the group together, and bring the younger players and the older players together. So that's certainly one of our strengths."Despite RCB struggling, Knight enjoyed her experience at the inaugural WPL, said a report on the ICC website.
"It was a really great competition to be involved in," she said."A very different experience to one I've ever experienced before. Just the intensity of the tournament and the off-field commitment in terms of shooting a few cringy ads myself, and doing things like that was just like nothing I've ever experienced."