On 8th June 2022, Mithali Raj, one of the greatest cricketers India has contributed to the world, stepped down from all formats of international cricket. Wishes and praises showered on her after the long-time captain of the Indian women’s cricket team shared the tweet of her retirement. “Perfect time to call curtains on my career as the team is in the capable hands of some very talented young players” Mithali tweeted.
Her retirement statement started, “I set out as a little girl on the journey to wear the India blues as representing your country is the highest honour. The journey was full of highs and some lows. Each event taught me something unique, and the last 23 years have been the most fulfilling, challenging & enjoyable years of my life. Like all journeys, this one too must come to an end. Today is the day I retire from all forms of International Cricket”. Mithali also shared her interest in staying in touch with cricket for a lifetime through her tweet “I would love to stay involved in the game and contribute to the growth of Women’s Cricket in India and world over”.
Mithali Dorai Raj, born on 3rd December 1982, is an Indian cricketer who plays as a right-handed batter. She was born in a Tamil family in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her father is Dorai Raj, who was an Airman (Warrant Officer) in the Indian Air Force, and her mother is Leela Raj. Mithali attended Keyes High School for Girls in Hyderabad. Also attended Kasturba Gandhi Junior College for Women in Secunderabad for her intermediate studies.
She started playing cricket at an early age of 10 and started doing cricket coaching in her school days along with her elder brother.
Mithali Raj debuted as a teenager against Ireland at Milton Keynes and scored unbeaten 114 runs on 26 June 1999. She was named among the probable in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup when she was just 14, but couldn’t make it to the final squad. She played for India between 1999 and 2022 and captained the side between 2004 and 2022. Mithali has played all three cricket formats for India, Test, One Day and T20. In her glorious career of more than two decades, she tirelessly batted her way to nearly 11,000 runs across formats. On 17 August 2002, at the age of 19, in her third Test, she broke Karen Rolton’s record of the world’s highest individual Test score of 209* scoring a new high of 214.
Mithali Raj is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and holds numerous records in international cricket like being the only cricketer to surpass the 7,000 run mark in Women’s One-Day International matches, being the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. She also holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs. In June 2018, during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India, male or female, to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2000 WT20I runs. She is a part-time leg-break bowler as well.
She is the only female player to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017. On 1st February 2019, during India’s series against New Zealand Women, Raj became the first woman to play in 200 ODI matches. In September 2019, she announced her retirement from T20Is to focus on ODI cricket. In 2019, she became the first woman to complete 20 years in international cricket. In July 2021, in the third WODI match against England, Raj became the leading run-scorer in women’s international cricket. She went past Charlotte Edwards’ previous record of 10,273 runs.
On top of all this, she is also a recipient of several prestigious national and international awards, including the Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World in 2017, the Arjuna Award in 2003, the Padma Shri in 2015, and Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2021. Sachin Tendulkar also joined the wish and praise that has flown for Mithali Raj after she announced her retirement from international cricket. Tendulkar tweeted “Congratulations on a stellar career Mithali Raj! Your contribution to Indian Women’s Cricket over the last 23 years has been immense and you have been an inspiration to young girls wanting to play for India. Wishing you the very best for all your future endeavours”.
“Not just in our country but she will be remembered for her contribution to women’s cricket across the globe. I just got too fortunate as a fan who got to live her glorious journey of 23 years for a bit on camera which taught me so much about resilience and perseverance. She is truly a legend we can never thank enough”, Tapsee Pannu who will be playing her role in the upcoming movie ‘Shabaash Mithu’ tweeted together with a picture of them and an ode to her incomparable career.