India women's cricket team opener Smriti Mandhana on Saturday said aspiring female players will now look up to Mithali Raj for inspiration and not Sachin Tendulkar, underlining the rising stock of their trade after their World Cup heroics in England recently.
India eves created a stir when they reached the final of the Women's World Cup earlier this year.
Led by Mithali, the women in blue lost by nine runs to the hosts following an inexplicable late collapse at the Lord's.
However, even in defeat, the Indian team won many hearts with cricketers like Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli lauding their efforts.
"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 here.
The 21-year-old was referring to an incident when Mithali was asked to name her favourite male cricketer.
The reply was, "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.
Talking about the prospect of a women's Indian Premier League (IPL), Mandhana said: "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."
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