Smriti Mandhana

50 Most Marketable 2018 - Smriti Mandhana

Indian, 22, Cricket

The talented face of Indian women’s cricket

Representatives: Baseline Ventures

Key partners: Bata, Hero

The 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was an almighty turning point for the women’s game. Rarely can a tournament have captured the imagination of an uninitiated public. More than 180 million people watched part of the tournament, while it garnered more than one billion Facebook impressions.

Crucially, India – world cricket’s hotbed of young talent – embraced the competition. Viewing hours in the country rose by 500 per cent on the previous World Cup, while 126 million Indians watched their team take on England in the final. The effect has been stark. The Kia Super League (KSL), England’s domestic franchise T20 competition, continues to thrive, while 23 games from Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and the Seven Network in its domestic market.

For Smriti Mandhana, the face of a new era for Indian women’s cricket, the opportunities are endless. She is playing for the Western Storm in the KSL and has begun to blaze a trail for her compatriots, securing a bat sponsorship deal with Hero. Perhaps most exciting for Mandhana is the one-off IPL Women’s T20 Challenge that acted as a precursor to this year’s men’s final. The concept of a Women’s IPL is fascinating, with a guaranteed fanbase and newfound financial opportunities for the world’s top players, and India’s brightest light surely stands to benefit. NF

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