In the recent virtual press conference organized by BCCI just before team India’s departure for New Zealand, Mithali Raj says that she will think about her future in the game after the 2022 Women’s Cricket world cup. She retired from T20 cricket in 2019 saying that she wants to focus on ODI cricket and win India the world cup. She has had a career longer than anyone in Women’s cricket. So let’s take a look at this long and fruitful career.
Mithali Raj is undoubtedly one of the best players of all time and undeniably the best batter to ever have played the game for India. She has had a career that has spanned more than 22 years with her ODI debut in 1999. At the age of 16, this young girl from Hyderabad made her international debut and scored an unbeaten 114 against Ireland in an ODI. She made her Test Debut just at the age of 19 in the 2001-2002 season against South Africa. In just her 3rd test she overtook Karen Rolton to become the record holder for the highest Individual test scorer by scoring 214 against England(the record since then has been bettered by Kiran Baluch when she scored 242). This score is also the record for the youngest player to score a double century.
She was given the captaincy of the Indian Team in 2005 when she was just 22 years old. She has taken India to new heights with her brave and passionate captaincy that seemed unreachable for many years. She is the only captain to lead India in 2 world cup finals, 2005 and 2017 respectively.
She is the leading run-scorer of all time in ODI amassing 7391 runs in 220 matches at an average of 51.32. She has hit 7 centuries and 59 half-centuries. She was the first female player to play 200 ODIs. She is the highest run-scorer in T20Is for India before she hung up her boots in 2019. She has amassed 2364 runs in 89 matches with 17 half-centuries. She even has a century and 4 50s in the 12 test matches played by her.
Now, more than ever, she is determined to win the world cup for India before she says farewell to cricket. At age 39, she has inspired almost 2 generations of cricket and will continue to inspire young girls to play cricket for the national team. She joined cricket when it was not taken as a ‘serious career’ for women and has made her place in it and showed everyone that there is nothing a woman with passion and dedication can’t do.
We wish Mithali Raj and the team all the best for the upcoming World Cup 2022.
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