Mithali Raj, the iconic Indian batswoman in the nation’s women’s cricket team, is often referred to as a ‘dangerous cricketer’ because of her composure at the brisk and crease scoring ability. When she takes the role of a bowler, she adds variations to her attack by rolling her arms over bowling leg-spinners.
Here’s a look at some interesting facts about this leading player from the Indian Women’s National Cricket Team.
Mithali was born on December 3, 1982, to Leela and Dorai Raj in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her father was an airman in the Indian Air Force. She completed her schooling and intermediate studies in Secunderabad.
The Beginning of Cricket
At the age of 10, Mithali started playing cricket and used to attend coaching with her elder brother. She often practised with male cricketers in the nests as there were not many girls willing to take up the sport.
Before she went on to become India’s best batswoman, Mithali was into classical dance. She is professionally trained in Bharatanatyam.
Achievements in Cricket
Mithali is a right-hand batsman, who is widely regarded as the best batswoman the Indian Women Cricket Team ever had. In International Women’s Cricket, no other player has scored more runs than her (6888 runs). Apart from being a world-class batsman, she is also a competent leg spinner. Read on to get to know more facts about the achievements of Mithali Raj in the cricket field:
· Mithali Raj was named in the list of probable players for the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup when she was just 14 years old.
· On her One Day debut against Ireland in 1999, she scored an unbeatable 114 runs.
· On August 17, 2002, she made the highest individual test score of 214 against England in Taunton. She was only 19 years old then; the record was later broken by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan(242) in 2004.
· She fell ill with Typhoid during 2002 World Cup. The Indian Cricket Team’s chances in the World Cup took a severe blow, but she did lead India to its first World Cup Final In 2005 Women’s World Cup.
· She received the Arjuna Award in 2003. She was also the recipient of Padma Shri, India’s Fourth Highest Civilian Award in 2015.
· In 2006, she led the team to its first-ever series win in England. She also led the team, which won the Asia Cup
· She is the second woman batsman to have surpassed the 5000 run marks in One Day Internationals and the only female cricketer to have crossed 6000 run mark in women’s cricket.
· She is the only Indian Captain to have led the team to 2 One day World Cup Finals.
· Mithali Raj has the most number of 50+ scores in One Day Internationals. She has scored the 50s fifty-five times.
· During the 2017 World Cup, she created another feat by scoring her seventh consecutive half-century, the most by any player playing the sport of cricket.
· She was also Vogue’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2017. In the same year, she was also featured in BBC 100 Women. She was also named the Wisden Leading Women Cricketer in the World in 2017.
· She is the first Indian woman cricketer to score more than 1000 runs in the World Cup. As she is the highest run-getter for India in all the three formats of cricket, she is also fondly called by fans as the “Sachin Tendulkar of Women’s Cricket”.
· Mithali Raj was appointed as a batting coach for the Indian National Team, where she had the role of being a player as well as that of a coach.
· In 2019, she became the first woman cricketer to complete 20 years in International Cricket.
· In 2017, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures acquired the rights to make a biopic of Mithali Raj. Mithali had expressed her wish for Priyanka Chopra to play her role. However, it was later decided by the producers that Taapsee Pannu would play her character in the movie titled “Shabaash Mithu”.
· Mithali is known to be an avid reader. She was once caught reading a book by Jalaluddin Rumi before going to bat during the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. She says that reading calms her nerves.
In September 2019, Mithali Raj retired from T20I cricket to focus on preparing herself for the 2021 one-day World Cup. We wish her all the best and hope she brings the World Cup to India in 2021.