As one of the finest women cricketers of all times turns 38 on December 3, here’s a look at 38 interesting facts about the one and only Mithali Dorai Raj.
1. In her childhood, Mithali Raj aspired to become a Bharatnatyam dancer and not a cricketer
2. Mithali Raj is the Youngest centurion in ODI cricket: At (16 years 205 days)
3. Mithali Raj’s Indian team also created a team record of winning 16 matches on-the-trot – a streak which began with India defeating Australia during the tour of Australia in February 2016 and ended during the Quadrangular ODI series in South Africa in May 2017
4. Mithali scored unbeaten 114 runs on her debut match against Ireland Women’s team in 1999, which is the third-highest score made by a woman cricketer in her ODI debut after Lynne Thomas (134 in 1973) and Nicole Bolton (124 in 2014).
5. There have been only five women cricketers who have scored a hundred on debut and Mithali is the fourth player after Enid Bakewell, Lynne Thomas, and Reshma Gandhi.
6. Mithali was the part of Indian women’s best partnership in ODIs and that too in her debut match by scoring unbeaten 114 runs along with her partner Reshma who made 104 not out. Their partnership of unbroken 258 runs is the third-best for any wicket and second-best for the first wicket.
7. At 19, Mithali Raj broke Karen Rolton’s record of the world’s highest individual Test score of 209 and made a new score of 214.
8. Mithali Raj became the first Indian cricketer to score 2,000 runs in T20 International Cricket (June 7, 2018).
9. Mithali Raj is the only Indian woman cricketer to be not dismissed for a duck for 7 consecutive years (2000-07). She also holds the second-best record of most consecutive innings without a duck with 74 innings after Karen Rolton (104).
10. Mithali Raj is an avid book reader.
11. Mithali is an Arjuna Awardee. She received the award in 2003.
12. She also received the Padma Shri in 2015.
13. She is the second female cricketer to cross 5,000 ODI runs.
14. With 6,888 runs in Women’s ODIs, currently Mithali is the highest run-scorer ahead of Charlotte Edwards (5,992 runs).
15. With 209 ODIs, she is the most capped ODI women’s cricketer in the world after Charlotte Edwards (191).
16. Out of 158 matches, she has played 109 consecutive matches for the Indian women’s team, which is the most by any women’s cricketer.
17. In her long career of 21-years, which is still going, Mithali has scored the most runs in the year 2006. She played 23 matches that year and amassed 684 runs at 45.60.
18. Out of her 209 ODIs, Mithali has played most against England. She has played 55 matches against them.
19. She has the most (60) 50+ scores with seven centuries and 53 half-centuries.
20. She is fifth on the list of most catches by a fielder in women’s ODI with 53 catches.
21. Throughout her career, she has got seven centuries in ODIs, which is the most by any Indian female cricketer.
22. After Charlotte Edwards (55), Mithali has scored most 50s with 53 career half-centuries.
23. There have been only four instances when Mithali has got out on a duck in ODIs, which is the joint second-least number of ducks by any women’s cricketer who has played 100 or more ODIs.
24. Till now, Mithali has played in five World Cup tournaments, in which she has scored 1,139 runs at an average of 54.23, which is the third-best average in World Cups after Sarah Taylor and Karen Rolton (among the players who have played 10 or more matches in the tournament).
25. She has also scored nine fifties in her five World Cup tournament appearances, which is the best by any Indian women cricketer and joint third-most after Debbie Hockley (12), Charlotte Edwards (11), Karen Rolton (9).
26. In 2013 Women’s World Cup, Mithali scored her best score of unbeaten 103 not out against the Pakistan Women’s team, which is the third-highest score by an Indian women cricketer in a World Cup match after Harmanpreet Kaur (171* and 107* not out).
27. At the age of 21 years and 4 days, she became the youngest captain for the Indian women’s cricket team and seventh overall.
28. Under her leadership, the Women in Blue won their first Test series against England in 2006 and that too on foreign soil by a 1-0 margin.
29. In the 2005 Women’s World Cup, she led the team to the final for the first time.
30. Between 2004 and 2008, Mithali Raj led the team in four Asia Cup tournaments and all four were won by the Indian women’s cricket team.
31. In her third Test, Mithali scored 214 runs and broke the previous best record of most runs in an innings of Karen Rolton (209 not out) on August 16, 2002.
32. She has played only 10 Tests and averages 51, which is the best average by any Indian woman cricketer in Tests.
33. So far, she has played 89 T20Is for India in which she averages 37.52, which is the second-best by any woman cricketer in the world after Scotland’s Sarah Bryce, who averages 39.30.
34. She has scored 17 fifties, which is the most by any Indian women’s cricketer in the T20I format.
35. She is currently holding the 10th position in women’s ODI batting ranking with 687 points.
36. In April 2015, she became the first female cricketer to win the Wisden India Cricketer of the Year.
38. She is the first player to score seven consecutive half-centuries in ODIs. She is the only cricketer who was a captain in two ICC ODI World Cup finals; 2005 and 2017.
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I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.