Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mithali Raj calls it a day in style

  • Curtains down on a brilliant career
  • Super cricketer of Indian women’s cricket
  • Has been a role model for many young girls
  • Bagged all awards and honours

Mithali Raj, world’s leading batter and India’s cricketing great announced her retirement from international cricket on Wednesday. She said on Twitter that she felt this is the most opportune time to retire since the team is in the hands of very capable young players.

“I would like to thank BCCI and Jay Shah Sir  (Secretary, BCCI) for the support I have received first as a player then as a  captain of Indian Women Cricket Team,” said Mithali, 39.  “It was an honour to lead the team for so many years. It definitely shaped me as a  person and hopefully helped shape Indian women’s cricket as well,” said the most accomplished woman batter in India.

“This journey may have ended but another one beckons as I would love to stay involved in the game and contribute to the growth of women’s cricket in India and the world over,” wrote Mithali on her Twitter.

RSR Murthy, mentor and coach of Mithali said the batter had discussed her retirement plans with him last week. “I am glad she is leaving the game on a high. She still has some years of cricket in her,” Murthy commented.

Mithali Raj has many first to her credit. She is the first women to play ODIs for two decades. She is the only Indian captain, among men and women, to take her team to summit clash twice in 2005 and 2017. She is the only woman batter to have made more than 6000 runs. Edwards of England is behind her with 5992 runs. Mithali has a record of 7805 runs. Mithali and Jhulan are the only woman players to have played in more than 200 ODIs. Her run tally across the formats is the best women’s international cricket at 10,868. Again Edwards is behind her with 10,273 runs.

“When I look back, I feel fortunate and privileged to see the evolution of women’s cricket in India from my early days to the current era when the players are more recognized and have a fan base with huge support from the BCCI too,” Mithali told The Hindu in an exclusive interview. “The decision to quit was never an impulsive or an emotional one but had been on the cards ever since we came back from the last World Cup in New Zealand,” she said.

“I have always insisted that the World Cup would be my last international assignment. It was a huge disappointment personally and from the team’s perspective. I hoped we would make it to the semifinal at least,” she commented. She had discussion with her father and other well wishers before calling it a day.

“I was not perturbed by the growing criticism in the recent past about my rate of scoring. These things come when you are successful and for so long at the highest level,” she observed.

Mithali has been a poster girl for women’s cricket in India. She was at the helm of women’s cricket in India for two decades. It was the coach at Secunderabad who was training her brother that spotted cricketer in her. Ever since, she inspired many girls to pick up the bat.

Mithali Raj was awarded Padma Shri, Arjun Award and Khel Ratna. Suffice it to say that she was on the top of women’s cricket in India for two decades. No other cricket either among males or females, captained the team as long as she did.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


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