9 out of 10 cricket fans in India will not shy away from calling Sachin Tendulkar from god of cricket. The legendary cricketer shouldered the hopes of millions of cricket-obsessed fans outstandingly well for more than two decades and retired as the most accomplished cricketers of all time. 100 international centuries, most runs in ODIs and Tests, most half-centuries were some of the few major record held by him when he brought down curtains on his illustrious career in 2013. Not surprisingly every budding or professional cricketer looks at Sachin Tendulkar for inspiration.

However, Indian women team’s opener Smriti Mandhana is one of those handful off Indians who do not look up to the former Indian batting star. The left-handed batswoman, who had hogged the limelight after her stunning performances in the first two games of this year’s World Cup, said that the upcoming generation will look up to Mithali Raj as inspiration instead of Tendulkar.

Mithali’s contribution to women’s cricket in the country is perhaps at par with what Tendulkar did for men’s game. Mithali has been serving women’ cricket for close to 2 decades with utmost aplomb and has carved her own place in the history of the game.

I don’t think anybody will ask us who is our favourite male cricketer. I believe girls will start playing cricket and I think they will be compared to Mithali Raj and not Sachin Tendulkar,” Mandhana told India Today TV channel at the Mind Rocks event.

The 21-year-old was referring to an incident when Mithali was asked to name her favourite male cricketer.

“Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” Mithali had said to the scribe in question.

Mandhana also backed the concept of an IPL-like tournament for the betterment of women’s cricket.

“Women’s IPL will be a great thing. The domestic players will get to play with the international stars. I’m sure BCCI will think about it,” she said.