Bids Adieu To International Cricket
Veteran Indian women’s cricketer Mithali Raj, captain of India women’s ODI and Test teams, announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket. Mithali, 39, made the announcement on Twitter where she shared a heartwarming statement summing up her 23-year-long career. The announcement of her retirement comes two months after the end of the women's ODI World Cup. Mithali Raj, 39, has been replaced by Harmanpreet Kaur as the ODI captain as the BCCI has announced the squads for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour.
Raj, a right-handed batter, is regarded as one of the top Indian players of the cricket. She made her international debut in 1999 as a 16-year old in an ODI against Ireland and has played prolific cricket across all formats. She will go down in history for her incredible run-scoring feats, including a record 7,805 runs at an average of 50.68 to date in ODI matches; the same figure as MS Dhoni, represented India in 12 Tests, 232 ODIs & 89 T20Is in all, 195 of them as skipper. She has also led the team to the finals of two World Cups. In Tests, Mithali Raj scored 699 runs, in 12 matches, including a ton and four half-centuries. And in T20Is, Raj amassed 2364 runs at an average of 37.52 with 17 half-centuries and a high score of 97 not out. She hit 8 international centuries and 85 fifties during her more than two decades long career. In March 2021, Mithali is the first Indian woman cricketer and second internationally to complete 10,000 runs across all formats.
Two Women with a longer international career than Raj 22 years 274 days. Caroline de Fouw's career for the Netherlands has been over 26 years and 361 days between 1991 and 2018. between 2008 and 2018, de Fouw, however, did not play any matches. In 1997, Chamani Seneviratna debuted for Sri Lanka and representing UAE since 2018, has a career spanning 24 years and 155 days. Mithali Raj is marginally betters Sachin Tendulkar 22 years 91 days.
Raj's batting average in successful ODI chases has been 109.05 , the highest among men or women to have scored 1000-plus runs in successful ODI chases. Mithali Raj has remained unbeaten in 35 successful chases, the most by an woman and the second-most behind MS Dhoni (47 not outs). She once struck 9 consecutive fifty-plus scores in international cricket - two in the Asia Cup T20s in 2016 and seven in ODIs in 2017. It has been the longest streak of fifty-plus scores for any batter across men or women's Internationals. Mithali Raj holds the record for most consecutive fifty-plus scores in the women's ODIs, having scored seven on the trot in 2017. Only Miandad from Pakistan (Nine in 1987) had a streak longer than that. Between April 2004 and February 2013, Mithali made 109 consecutive ODI appearances for India. Another women's world record. She missed only 15 ODIs played by India since her debut in 1999.
Mithali is widely recognised for her contributions to the game in India and has been conferred upon several civilian awards including the Arjuna award, the Padma Shri and most recently the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2021. Mithali’s role in the revolution of women’s cricket in India – a journey far from complete, one must admit – is undeniable and immeasurable. Her achievements, as an individual and a captain, in the first decade of this century, had given inspiration to many girls across the country to take up cricket. In a country where joining sport as a sustainable profession is a challenge for almost every woman, Raj came as a role model, breaking world records and leading India to famous Test wins overseas and to their only appearances in the World Cup final. While it is difficult to measure her influence by numbers, the records and achievements stand out. If anything, there are too many of them to list. Her adieu brings down the curtain on a glittering career.