SMRITI Mandhana is not one for looking back.

The 23-year-old Indian international returns to Western Storm for the 2019 season having finished last year's tournament as the leading run scorer with 421, at an average of 60.14.

She was named ICC women's cricketer of the year for 2018, scored the fastest 50 in T20 international history (from 24 balls) in February, and has had another prolific winter playing for Hobart Hurricanes in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia.

And yet she is clear that her exploits from last year – or even earlier this year – will not hold much weight in this summer's Kia Super League.

She said: "I am not really someone who believes in form or what we have done in the past, because every tour or every match is different.

"I've been timing the ball well from the time I've come to England, we've had good practice sessions, so that is all I really focus on as a batter.

"I'm timing the ball well and reacting well, so I'm excited for the first match.

"I don't really want to compare [to last year] – I might do better, or I might not.

"I don't really want to put pressure on myself; I just want to enjoy my cricket, and that's when I can perform for the team."

Mandhana also explained that it was an "easy" decision for her to return to the South West, that she would not play for any other team if her international commitments allowed.

"It was an easy decision [to come back]," she said.

"The first thing I said was that if I played KSL it would be for Western Storm, it just depends on the international schedule.

"Luckily we had the time off [from playing for India], so I decided to come back.

"Last year I was so settled here because the girls are so sweet, and the coaching and support staff have been really easy to work with.

"Whatever I have asked for, they have always got it done; so last year I had no problem [settling in], and this year has been even easier."

She has been joined by Indian international team-mate Deepti Sharma, an all-rounder who replaces Stafanie Taylor in the squad, and both Mandana and Sharma will be available for the entirety of the 2019 campaign.

Mandhana added: "I think [Deepti Sharma] has been the most consistent bowler for India in the last four years, and her four overs have always been crucial for us in the T20s.

"She can spin the ball too, so I'm looking forward to her doing the same things for Western Storm."

Storm won the competition in 2017, then reached the semi-finals last year, but Mandhana is keeping her focus on the team's first match, away to Loughborough Lightning today (Tuesday, 4pm start).

"I think we should take one match at a time, and we will try to win that match," the 23-year-old said.

"If we think about finals day or the trophy then I don't think we will concentrate on the process.

"We're here to make the finals and lift that trophy, but for now the focus of the group is on that first match.

Saturday sees the team play their first home match of the KSL campaign, against Lancashire Thunder at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton (3pm).

Mandhana is looking forward to that home support, and is very much aware of her and her team-mates' role in inspiring the next generation of female cricketers.

She said: "At Taunton the wicket has been so good to bat on; I'm not sure about this year, but last year it was one of the best I've batted on.

"The crowds have always been great and supportive.

"That's a major thing for us, and it makes you feel happy that you're contributing something and small girls will want to be a cricketer.

"I also have that back in India, I would like to inspire girls to start playing cricket, and I'm sure that if Western Storm continue to do well then more young girls will come to watch us play, pick up a bat and ball, and play cricket as a professional career."