Mithali Raj – The Wonder Woman of Indian Cricket
Mithali Dorai Raj, is the former skipper of the Indian Women Cricket T20 international team and is the current the captain of the test and ODI teams who began her career playing for Railways in the domestic competition she used to play alongside stars like Purnima Rau, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain for Air India.
She made her ODI International debut in 1999 against Ireland and scored an unbeaten 114 runs, and since then she has proven to be an invaluable asset and has emerged as one of India’s most dependable bats, scoring heavily in both one-days and Tests.
She has become the first player in the history of cricket to have seven consecutive half-centuries in her name. She has seventeen half-centuries to her name.
Raj has become the player with highest individual T20 score surpassing her male counterparts and the dethroning Martin Guptill (New Zealand), who was the previous record holder.
Her score from 85 matches, stands at 2283, with an average of 37.42 and a strike rate of 96.57 followed by her teammates Harmanpreet Kaur (the current captain for T20s internationals) who stands in the second position with 1827 runs and Smriti Mandhana with 929 runs.
Mithali has gone ahead of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli who has 2207 and 2102 runs respectively. In 2008, under her captainship, the women’s team won the fourth successive Asia Cup title, and she reached the landmark of 3000-runs. In Women’s Asia Cup, she also became the seventh player ever to score over 2000 runs in 75 matches only.
Raj’s consistency is second to none. She has left behind some of the most prolific names in men’s circuit – let alone women’s – with a career average of over 51. In the form of her life even at 35, it wouldn’t come as a surprise when she goes on to become the first women ever to 200 caps.
She held the record of the highest individual score by an Indian Women Cricketer in a World Cup match (91 off 104 deliveries against New Zealand in the 2005 Women’s World Cup) and currently tops the batting table with 703 ratings. She also became the first player to score 6,000 runs in WODIs and also holds the record for playing the most consecutive Women’s One Day Internationals for a team.
She has been crowned with an Arjuna Award and a Padma Shri Award in the years 2003 and 2015 respectively and also went on to became the Vogue Sportsperson of the Year in 2017.
The Tendulkar of Indian Women’s Cricket is the current leading run scorer for India in all formats including ODIs, T20s and Tests. 18-years of cricket and more to come has not been a very smooth journey but, fortunately, her run-scoring capacity never deserted her.