Former India captain Mithali Raj has made the call to hang up her cricket bat and say goodbye to her illustrious 23-year career, the longest in Women’s International cricket.
Raj represented India Women in 232 ODI’s scoring 7,805 runs at an average of 50.68. She also played in 12 Tests and 89 T20Is.Embed from Getty Images
Not only does she hold the record for the leading run scorer in ODI cricket, but is India’s highest run scorer in T20 cricket.
She also is India’s most successful female ODI captain, and led them in 155 matches, winning 89 of them.
The 39-year old also led India to two 50-Over World Cup Finals(2005 and 2017) and remains the only Indian Captain male or female to do so.
She was included in the BBC’s list of 100 influential and innovative woman from around the world.
Not to forget, she was named Wisden’s Leading Woman Cricketer in the World in 2021.
Post receiving this award, she scored half-centuries in seven consecutive ODI’s
Raj ended up with seven centuries and 64 half-centuries in his ODI career.
She also scored 699 Test runs, with one century and four fifties, including 214, which is the highest individual score by a female cricketer in Tests.
Led India to four Asia Cup titles: 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008, beating Sri Lanka in each of those finals, before claiming the fourth against arch rivals Pakistan in 2012.
Won first Test Series in England in 2014 by scoring 50 in the second innings.
Surpassed Belina Clark’s record of captaining the most 50-Over World Cups(28).
Accumulated 535 runs in 17 matches, the most by an Indian Captain in an ODI Series.
I set out as a little girl on the journey to wear the India Blues, as representing your country is the highest honour. “The last 23 years have been the most fulfilling, challenging and enjoyable years of my life.The journey was full of high and som lows. “Each time I stepped on the field, I gave my very best with the intent to help India win. “I’d love to stay involved with the game I love and contribute to the growth of women’s cricket in India and the world.”Mithali Raj: BBC SPORT
Inspiration For Next-Gen
Though Raj has hung up her cricket gear, she is and remains a huge inspiration for current and future female cricketers, especially in India, and with the likes of Jemimah Rodrigues and Shefali Verma performing well in domestic as well as international cricket, the future looks bright for women’s cricket, particularly in India.
Kaur To Lead The New Era
With Raj calling it quits, this gives the opportunity to Harmanpreet Kaur to lead India in all three formats. Kaur who is currently leading the T20 side, Took India to the semi-finals of the 2018 T20 World Cup. They also reached the final of the 2020 edition in Australia.
India is due to tour Sri Lanka towards the end of June, for three T20s and three Odis, It’ll be interesting to see where this new journey of cricket under Kaur’s leadership shapes up, especially leading up to next year’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.
It may be the end of the road for Raj, but her name with no doubt be up to their with the greats of Indian and world cricket.
For more information about Mithali Raj, visit World in Sport.