On July 11th July she preceded Charlotte Edwards as the highest scorer of the ODI match and made her cricket craze nation proud of her. Mithali Raj is a true source of inspiration for playing a “man’s sport in the man’s world” successfully. Life has not been very smooth for her; let’s take a look at the winner’s life prior to all her achievements.
Mithu, as called by her loved ones was born in Jodhpur to Dorai Raj, an Airman in the Indian Air force and Leela Raj in Jaipur on 3rd December 1982. Mithali showed interest in cricket at the young age of 10 and thereafter she was destined to make a difference in the world of Cricket.
After her father joined the Andhra Bank in Secunderabad, she started attending the cricket coaching camp in St Johns coaching camp at the age of 10 along with her brother as her father wanted her to become an early riser, call it destiny, her father Dorai Raj’s friend spotted her talent in the sport advised her father to concentrate on her rather than her brother.
She had to leave St John coaching camp not long after she joined as it was an all-boys camp but nevertheless, Jyothi Prasad, her father’s friend who recognized her talent advised her father to send her to Keyes Girls High School under the wings of Sampat Kumar.
Mithali Raj was destined to become a Cricket Icon
After practicing Bharatnatyam for 8 years she had to leave it soon for the love of Cricket. Within a year of practice, Sampat Kumar predicted that Mithali would be breaking records in cricket.
Dorai and Leela Raj gave their 100% support and blessings to Mithali for continuing cricket as her career. In 1997, she was chosen as one of the 14 candidates for 1997 World Cup but wasn’t selected for being too young. Finally, in 1999, she made her ODI debut against One Day International debut in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes with 114 runs and making her the youngest centurion in women’s ODI.
In 2001-02 she debuted in a test match against South Africa. Again she broke a world record on 17th August 2002 at the age of 19 for world’s highest individual Test score of 214 against England in the second and final Test at County Ground, Taunton.
There was a bump in her roller coaster life in 2002 when she suffered a strain of typhoid in the CricInfo Women’s World Cup in 2002 causing India’s loss. She became India’s youngest captain for Women’s Cricket team in 2004, for a match against West Indies at the age of 21. She gained her position back in 2005 after winning first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa against the might of Australia. 2006 ended with winning the Asia Cup.
Mithali led her team to the finals of Women’s World Cup in 2005. In the year 2003, she received the coveted Arjuna Award. Raj again starred as the No.1 Cricketer in the ODI chart among women at the 2013 Women’s World Cup with 100s: 1 and 50s: 4 in Test cricket, 100s: 5 and 50s: 40 with best bowling of 3/4 in ODI’s and 50s: 10 in T20’s
2017 was her year as she won the Women’s Cricket World Cup and scored her seventh consecutive half-century with a record for most consecutive fifties by a player.
In February, she became the second player to make 5,500 runs in WODIs. Raj is the most captained player for India in ODI and T20I. Finally, in July she became the first player to make 6,000 runs in WODIs. Presently she holds the top position for the batting table with 703 ratings, also the 1st Indian & 5th woman cricketer overall to score over 1,000 World Cup runs.
Mithali Raj boasts a glorious 18 years old career span which is longest for any Indian women of the cricket team.