It’s not every day that an Indian woman cricketer sets a record. But when she does, it leaves even stalwarts of the Indian men’s cricketing squad surprised and in awe. Last year, Mithali Raj became the highest scorer for India in T20 internationals, moving ahead of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli respectively.
But, she stunned her fans, when in September 2019, Mithali declared that she is retiring from the T20I Cricket format. Her dream is to now focus all her energies in readying herself for the 2021 one-day World Cup. She dreams to bring the World Cup to India in 2021.
Mithali Dorai Raj, the Indian cricketing legend is a power to reckon with. And now, even Bollywood is making a biopic on her life and struggles. Bollywood actor, Taapsee Pannu will essay the lead role.
This is the power of this woman and her bat.
Born on December 3rd 1982, she is often regarded as one of the greatest batswomen to have ever played the game after becoming the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000-run mark in WODIs. She is the first player to score 7 consecutive 50s in ODI’s and holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs. In June 2018 she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in T20Is and also set the milestone for becoming the first woman cricketer to reach 2000 T20I runs.
Raj is the only player (male or female) to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017.Background –
Mithali was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan into a Tamil family. Her father was with the Indian Air Force. She started playing at the tender age of 10 and by 17 had been picked up for the Indian team.
She made her One Day International debut in 1999 against Ireland and scored an unbeaten 114 runs. She made her Test debut in 2001–02 against South Africa at Lucknow.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, she also broke Karen Rolton’s record of world’s highest individual Test score, scoring a new high of 214, at the age of 19.
Despite being ill with typhoid and taking a break, she led the team to their first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa. Apart from this, she is a part-time leg-break bowler as well.
She is a recipient of the Arjuna award for the year 2003 and is known as a composed and focused cricketer who is ruthless with the bat.
At the 2013 Women’s World Cup, Mithali Raj was the No.1 Cricketer in the ODI chart among women.
She plays for the Railways in domestic competition. She is popularly nicknamed ‘Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricketer’, for her run scoring ability.
She was appointed as a batting consultant for India women’s national cricket team and played as a player-coach.
After Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures acquired the rights to make a feature film on her life. In her own words “Hoping that this movie inspires more people, especially young girls to take up sports as a career.”
Apart from this she is an avid reader. She reads even before important matches and during her breaks.
She received the Padma Shri in 2015 and was the first ever woman player to receive the honor of being the Wisden Cricketer of the year.
And its not just on the field, but off-field too Mithali is dedicated to another craft. She started training for Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form, even before she took to the bat.