On November 3, the captain of the Indian women’s ODI and Test team, Mithali Raj, received the Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award for her stellar service to the sport over the last two decades.
“The Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is truly something special in my career and I am really grateful to each and everyone who has supported me over the years. I feel this prestigious award is a recognition for women’s cricket itself in India. The ignorance about women’s cricket which was there when I started playing the game is not there anymore thanks to the efforts by many, especially the BCCI,” Mithali said in a chat with Sportstar after the official confirmation of her getting the Award.
BCCI recommends Mithali Raj for Khel Ratna Award.#MithaliRaj
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) June 30, 2021
Apart from Raj, there were 11 other athletes, namely, Neeraj Chopra, Sunil Chhetri, Manpreet Singh, Lovlina Boroghain, Avani Lekhara, Manish Narwal, Sumit Antil, Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar, PR Sreejesh and Ravi Dahiya, recommended for the Khel Ratna Award.
“To be in the company of such illustrious athletes who got this award also makes me feel great,” she said.
Raj added, “I am sincerely grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BCCI honorary secretary Jay Shah, president Sourav Ganguly, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, my employers Indian Railways, all the coaches in different phases of my career, my seniors — who played before me and were an inspiration for me to play the game with such passion — fellow players and most importantly the support staff for its untiring efforts. This is a huge motivation especially when I am chasing my dream to win the World Cup for India next year in New Zealand. That is one trophy which I have been longing to win. I dedicate this award to my parents for their wonderful support, especially in my early days when not many took women’s cricket that seriously.”
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) November 3, 2021
Mithali’s mentor-cum-coach R.S.R. Murthy said, “She truly deserves this and I hope it will only inspire her to keep going and bring more laurels to the country.”
Mithali Raj has featured in 12 Tests, 220 ODIs and 89 T20Is for India, having made her debut in 1999. The right hand bat has scored 10,454 international runs across formats, including 80 half centuries and 8 centuries. She also has eight international wickets.
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.