India Women’s Cricket Team captain Mithali Raj, is a force to reckon with who has made her debut in the world of cricket on June 26, 1999. In a career that is the second-longest in both men’s and women’s cricket, the right-handed batsman was a part of 89 T20 matches, 220 One Day Internationals and 12 tests. She ranks second worldwide, on the ICC ODI players ranking. Moreover, she is the youngest player to hit a double century in Test cricket and to score a century in ODI cricket. As a captain, she has the record of most matches.
Recently, Mithali was conferred with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour of India, by President Ram Nath Kovind. With this, she becomes the first-ever women cricketer to be a recipient of this honour. Tapsee Panu will be playing her role in the Women Indian cricket team Captain’s biopic. The actor wrote in her official Twitter handle, “Just by hearing this exhaustingly long introduction of her accolades I feel she actually deserves a series made on her, not just a film,” She added, “So inspiring”.
The Sachin Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket:
Born in Rajasthan on December 3, 1982, Mithali Dorai Raj grew up in Hyderabad. She has been playing cricket since she was 10 years old and began taking cricket coaching during her school days. She joined Kasturba Gandhi Junior College for Women in Secunderabad for her intermediate studies. The cricketer played for the Indian Railways in the domestic competition during the initial days of her career. She, later on, played with players like Anjum Chopra, Purnima Rau and Anju Jain.
She has played all three cricket formats for India, T20, One Day and Test. In the 1997 Women’s
Cricket World Cup, she was named among the probable but could not make it to the final squad. During the CricInfo Women’s World Cup in 2002, the cricketer was ill with a strain of typhoid. However, she led the Indian team to their first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa, where the team lost to Australia. She led the side to their first-ever Test and Series victory in England and wrapped up the year winning the Asia cup in 2006. Her ability to score briskly and her composure when at crease, makes her a dangerous cricketer. She rolls her arm over bowling leg-spinners, in addition to her ability with the bat and thus provides variety to the attack.
She was the No.1 cricketer in the ODI chart among women, at the 2013 Women’s World Cup. She scored 5,500 runs in WODIs in February 2017 and became the second player to do so. In ODI and T20I, she is the first player to captain most matches. She scored 6,000 runs in WODIs in July 2017 and became the first player to do so. She was named as one of the players in the ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year in December 2017. In October 2018, In the West Indies, she was named in India’s squad for the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament.
Journey as a sportsperson
She made 10,000 international runs during the third ODI against South African women in March 2021 and became the second woman player in the world and the first from India to do so. Mithali made her debut in June 1999 against Ireland and scored more than 7,000 runs in Women’s One Day International matches. She is the first player in ODI matches to score seven consecutive 50s. In the international cricket format, she is the first woman to complete 20 years. By scoring 214 runs in August 2002, she broke the record of the world’s highest individual Test score of 209.
As she is the all-time leading run-scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20Is, she has been nicknamed “Lady Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket”. Mithali is the 5th woman and 1st Indian cricketer to score over 1,000 World Cup runs. She made a record for most consecutive fifties by a player, during the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup. Apart from this, he has played the most consecutive Women’s One Day Internationals for a team.
“After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 one-day World Cup,” she said earlier in a BCCI press statement. In September 2019, she announced her decision to retire from T20Is. She played both as a player and a coach when she was appointed as batting consultant for the Indian women’s national cricket team. She is the recipient of Padma Shri, Vogue Sportsperson of the year, Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World, Arjuna Award, Youth Sports Icon of Excellence Award and BBC 100 Women Award.