An icon and a fierce leader, Mithali Raj is the captain of the Indian Women’s Cricket Team.
Nicknamed as ‘Tendulkar of Indian cricket team’, Mithali Raj has created history by creating an unbeaten world record of 6,000-run mark in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs). She is the first Indian cricket captain to have lead the team in the World Cup finals twice. The first was in 2005, and the other was in July 2017.
She was recently featured on BBC’s ‘100 Most Inspirational Women’ list of 2017. She also made it at number 13 in the Lord’s ‘Top 20 Players of 2017’ list.
At the mere age of 14, she was eligible to participate in the 1997 World Cup, however, she could not make it.
But two years later, at the age of 17, she made it to the final squad of the Indian Cricket Team. The cricketing icon made her first century on her ODI debut itself – by scoring an unbeaten record of 114 against Ireland in 1999.
Mithali Raj is the first Indian cricket captain to have lead the team in the World Cup finals twice.
Born to a Tamil family, most of Mithali’s cousins were into academics. But this fierce leader from the age of 10 was always on the field playing cricket. During her school days, she would go for coaching with her elder brother. Growing up in Hyderabad, Mithali attended Keyes High School for Girls and later went to Kasturba Gandhi Junior College for Women.
She considers her family to be a pillar of constant support, who protected her from negativity. Her brother Mithun Raj has been her strongest source of support. He has played an extremely crucial role in motivation during dire moments.
Her father, Dorai Raj was in the Indian Air Force (IAF). He decided to encourage her dreams of being a professional cricket player.
In an interview with Shahrukh Khan, she said that “The contributions of these three people in my journey to cricket, is very impactful. Due to the majority of their hard work, this is what I am today”.
She received the Arjuna Award in 2003, and Padma Shri in 2015. Other awards include Youth Sports Icon of Excellence Award and Vogue Sportsperson of the Year.
To add to her stellar career, she holds the record for playing the most consecutive Women’s day Internationals for a team. In the 2017 World Cup, she made the record of the most consecutive fifties by a player.
During her early days, she wanted to become a classical dancer and learned Bharatanatyam. For someone whose first love is not cricket, Mithali has had a wonderful eighteen-year long career.
Not only is Mithali Raj a brilliant player, but is also an avid reader. A few of the books that have shaped her life include Jeffery Archer’s Path of Glory and fantasy serious by Rick Riordan called Heroes Olympus.
In the 2017 World Cup, she made the record of the most consecutive fifties by a player.
In popular culture, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures has acquired the rights to make a feature film on her. When asked about the film, Mithali said, “I am extremely happy on this association with Viacom18 Motion Pictures. Hoping that this movie inspires more people especially young girls to take up sports as a career.”
She is not just a warrior on the batting field, but also in terms of her thoughts. In the interview, she said that cricket should not be gender-biased and that women’s cricket has the capability to coach the men’s team and it should happen soon.
So what advice does this inspirational woman have to give to the younger generation of our country? In an interview, the star said, “I have learned from the sports cricket, that experiencing highs and lows are inevitable in life. When you go through a low phase in life, at that moment it is important you don’t lose faith in yourself. Self-being is a small word, but its impact is huge. Always hope that one day you will turn it around for yourself.”
Also read in Hindi: भारतीय क्रिकेट कप्तान मिथाली राज ने लिया टी20 क्रिकेट से संन्यास
Featured Image Credit: Brainfeed