Mithali Raj : A legend in a class of her own

Mithali Raj  Indian captain  Charlotte Edwards  Anjum Chopra  Kiran Baluch  Pranab Mukherjee  Padma Shri award  BCCI  india women cricket  cricket news

Cricket is the most followed sport in India. The citizens of this country feel relaxed while watching this game. We have seen over the years that cricketers are given godly status in the subcontinent nation. The players like Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni are the living legends in India. They are backed by millions and nobody is allowed to use harsh words against them. The critics have taken the back seat as fans have blasted them if they dare to speak something about these maestros. However, the same status is not given to women cricketers in the country despite their performance. There is hardly anyone who can tell the name of top women cricketers of the country forget about knowing their records. Mithali Raj, the Indian captain, has achieved remarkable success during her career but the fans and experts have hardly taken any note of it. She is the Sachin Tendulkar of the Indian womens cricket, who is doing her best day and night in order to make her nation proud. She made her one day international debut in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes and scored 114 runs without getting out in that match. She has gone on to become a legend since then and is not finished yet.


Skipper Mithali Raj scripted a new chapter in the history of Indian women’s cricket as she became the first from the country and overall second to reach the 5000-run milestone in one-day internationals. Her stylish unbeaten knock of 81 in Bengaluru guided the team to an eightwicket victory over New Zealand, thereby leveling the five-match series 2-2. With the help of her pivotal innings, India chased down the target of 220 only in 44.2 overs. Before Mithali, only English woman Charlotte Edwards had completed 5000 runs in ODIs. The chase of 220 was also the highest by a women’s team on Indian soil and second highest overall. Mithali’s fabulous innings was decorated with 10 welltimed boundaries. She also led Team India to win in the final ODI thus clinching the series 3-2. She has scored 5029 runs at a splendid average of 48.82 with five hundreds in 157 ODIs. She is a master in stabilizing an inning while her batting arsenal is full of strokes. Mithali plays according to the situation of a match and has displayed this numerous times in international cricket. The right hand batsman is the back bone of Team India’s batting line-up and has been scoring runs on consistent basis.


In 2002, India went to England for playing a triseries and two Test matches. But, unfortunately, India was undone by England and New Zealand in the series. India thought of regaining the momentum in the Test series but the first Test match was marred by continuous rain. The team decided to play an ODI on the last day of the game in order to compensate for the fans. Even this couldn’t help the visiting team as England finished on the winning note. Indian captain Anjum Chopra won the toss and elected to field in the second Test match. England scored 329 in their first innings, which was thought to be a big task for the visitor. However, Mithali Raj, who was playing in her third Test had other ideas. Very few can forget the memorable double-century she scored in England. Her majestic 214 in Taunton at a mere age of 19-year-old announced her arrival in this format of the game. It was then the world record for the highest individual score in Women’s Test cricket, which was broken by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan who scored 242 against West Indies in March 2004. Mithali has played in 10 Test matches so far and has scored 663 runs at an average of 51.00. She has also hit one century and four half-centuries in the process. The leading lady of the Indian cricket team is tailor made for long stay at the crease as she knows how to defuse the early momentum of the bowlers and carry on with the task in hand.


The star player of the team was awarded Arjuna award by the Government of India in recognition of her achievements in sports in 2003. The 32 year old got this award at a very young age, which shows the amount of hard work she had to put in her performances. It was not the end as she was recognized by the Indian Government once again in 2015. She received the Padma Shri award from President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi. Mithali had earlier said that she never expected the prestigious honour with the men cricketers being in the competition all the time. “Honestly when I was pitted against Virat Kohli, I gave up because when you compare us with men’s cricket then we think that we may not get it. So I was not expecting it, but it came as a pleasant surprise,” Mithali told PTI. “It (the national awards) is a nice way of appreciating your efforts. Because at the time when I started playing cricket, there was no awareness for women’s cricket. People were not even knowing that women’s cricket existed. And from that phase to today where people would want to follow women’s cricket, I think we have come a long way,” Mithali said. “These awards will really prop up the young girls and players to take up the sport and do much better. With this award probably people will be following women’s cricket keenly and will take a note of the international calendar of women,” she added. Mithali has ruled out the prospect of retirement in the near future as she wants to continue serving her nation in this field. According to her, it’s an honor to represent your nation at the highest level. However, she feels that women cricketers should be given better treatment by the BCCI and the fans.


* She was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan in 1982 and currently lives in Hyderabad.
* Mithali began her career by playing for Air India with prominent names like Purnima Rau and Anjum Chopra, and later on, for the Railways team.
* She first entered international cricket at the age of 17.
* Mithali was the number one in the charts of Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2013.
* She is also the first female cricketer to win the Wisden India Cricketer of the Year recognition. She received it in April 2015.

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