‘I don’t look to please people, I’m here to play the role that’s assigned to me’: Mithali Raj to Critics

India sealed their first ODI victory of the season against England in the 3rd ODI by 4 wickets at the New Road Stadium in Worcester. The heroics of skipper Mithali Raj and the splendid bowling made sure that India picked a consolation win. Mithali Raj also scripted history and became the leading run-scorer in international women’s cricket overtaking former English skipper Charlotte Edwards.

 

Mithali Raj is the leading run-scorer in Women's ODI Cricket
Mithali Raj is the leading run-scorer in Women’s ODI Cricket. PC: Getty Images

 

Throughout the ODI Series, there were questions around Mithali Raj’s below-par strike rate. With India losing the 1st and 2nd ODI, the comments from people on Twitter intensified against Mithali Raj – the captain of the side.

After the third and the final match of the ODI Series, in the Press Conference, Mithali Raj revealed that she does read the hate comments but she doesn’t take them seriously and only concentrates on improving her game.

“I do read the criticism about my strike rate but as I’ve said earlier also, I don’t seek validation from people. I have played for a long time, and I know that I have a certain responsibility in the team. I don’t look to please people, I’m here to play the role that’s assigned to me accordingly, by the team management. When you’re chasing a target, you pick your bowlers, you pick the length, and you pick the areas. And because I am in a good flow, I know I need to make the best use of myself in the middle. In a way the batting unit revolves around me – that’s the job that’s been given to me by the coach,” she said.

 

Mithali Raj creates World Record. PC: Getty Images
Mithali Raj creates World Record. PC: Getty Images

 

“I look to not get bogged down because somewhere I do know that the top order is already in the dugout and it was important for me to understand the situation how I can maneuver and try to get the match as close as possible with the batters who are yet to come and the batters that I had in the middle. And I guess I need to give credit also to Sneh Rana because that partnership was very, very crucial. She kept her calm, which is very important in such situations,” she further added.

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Raj scored three consecutive half-centuries in the 3 ODIs against England and saved the day for India on multiple occasions in this series. All-rounder Sneh Rana was another gem that was discovered during the England tour, Mithali praised her for her excellent skills.

“For me, batting has always been a role-play in the team,” Raj said. “The sort of role that is assigned to me over the years is of taking the responsibility of the batting unit and play throughout. And that’s something I’ve always done.”

“Today also was one of those days where I could plan my innings. Chasing gives me a better picture of building an innings along with the other batters in the middle and I am able to control the game. I think that really worked for me. And having young girls in the side helps to guide them when you’re in the middle to also sort of help them understand the situation and how to play in these conditions. It works well that way,” she added.

Mithali also talked about her world record. She became the leading run-scorer in international women’s cricket. Mithali has scored about 10,337 runs in her international career. She broke the world record of Charlotte Edwards by hitting a four on Nat Sciver’s ball in the 24th over and also talked about improving her skills before the 50-over World Cup next year.

“I think the way things have gone, it wasn’t an easy journey,” Raj said, reflecting on her storied 22-year-long international career. “It had its trials and challenges. I’ve always believed that these trials always have a purpose, and there were times when I wanted to give up for various reasons but something kept me going and here, I am, 22 years of international cricket but the hunger to score runs for India has never dried up.

“I know I have a few months in the run-up to the World Cup, and there are certain areas, certain dimensions to the game that I would like to add to my batting. I look forward to working on those areas,” she added.

Also Read:  Mithali Raj Tops the ICC Women’s ODI Players Rankings, 8th time in her 22 Year Long Career

The Indian ODI and Test skipper will be seen in action on the 9th of July when India takes on England in their first T20 contest in Northampton.

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