Cricket is a game appreciated by all. There is likely to be no one in the World who is unheard of in this game. Many people aspire to take up cricket as their profession from childhood. Cricket is associated with the emotions of people. There are thousands of cricket players whose contributions to the World of cricket are unparalleled. Male players have predominantly played this game for ages. However, as it is said that there is no profession in this World beyond the reach of females, there have been several female players whose extraordinary performances over the years have created a landmark on the field of cricket. Their achievements, dedication, determination and efforts are indeed praiseworthy. Any cricketing video about them on media platforms is inspiring to all. It has successfully motivated and inspired many to nurture the dream of becoming a cricket player even after being born as a girl.
India has been successful in producing many outstanding women cricket players, and their success stories are very inspiring. One such name is one of the greatest women players of all time, Mithali Raj, and her legacy in the World of cricket is unmatched. It is a fascinating story of hard work and determination that made Mithali Raj the most famous lady cricketer in India. She is the first lady cricketer to complete two decades in One Day Internationals. Mithali’s fabulous International cricket career can look like a script written for celluloid. Her biography has already touched the silver screen in the name of Shabaash Mithu.
Mithali Raj took birth on 3rd December 1982 in Jodhpur. The family moved to Hyderabad, where Mithali had her early education. She felt extremely attracted to cricket at the age of ten. Her steady performance made her a probable participant in the 1997 World Cup at the age of 14 only, but she could only make her debut in international cricket against Ireland at a young age of 16 in 1999. She wiped out the stadium with a marvellous unbeaten 114 runs. Her powerful performance at Milton Keynes paved the way for her impactful debut in the test matches in 2001-02 at Lucknow against South Africa. Unfortunately, after such brilliant performances, Mithali fell prey to typhoid during the 2002 CricInfo Women’s World Cup. However, she was back on her feet to represent India at Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2005 in South Africa. Although she pulled the team to the top, in the finals, India got defeated by Australia.
Mithali’s performance and achievement improved in 2006. In that year, she led the Indian Women’s Cricket team to their first test victory and a Series win in England. It was followed by the Asia Cup win for the second time within 12 months. Mithali is both a right-handed batsman and a part-time leg-break bowler. She is an extremely powerful player with a great strike rate. As a bowler, her spin deliveries and last-minute improvisations always baffle the batsmen. Her multi-faceted talent helped her earn accolades from the top critics of cricket. Mithali is the first woman cricketer to achieve the credit of 6000 runs in the One Day Internationals. Her 409-run record in the tournament stands second only to tammy Beaumon of England.
Despite a record-breaking performance in cricket, Mithali got involved in a controversy during the 2018 T20 World Cup. She was shocked to find herself excluded from the semi-finals. An infuriated Mithali expressed her strong grievance against the head coach of the team, Ramesh Powar. She accused him of motivated behaviour against her based on unfair discrimination. Mithali was extremely disheartened by the captain of the team, Harmanpreet Kaur’s stand to support her exclusion from the semi-finals. However, Mithali is a warrior, and nothing could keep her in a low space for long. She returned with a bang to snatch admiration from the World of International cricket as per BCCI latest news on domestic cricket.
Mithali possesses a brilliant collection of records in her illustrious career. She is the finest female batter with the most runs in cricket. She is the only Indian captain in cricket, male or female, to lead the team to 50-over finals in two World Cups. In 2005 Mithali received the rare privilege of becoming the permanent captain of India. While playing against New Zealand in 2019, she became the woman cricketer to play in 200 One Day international matches. In the same year, she completed 20 years of her cricket career in the third WODI match against the English team in July 2021. Mithali surpassed Charlotte Edwards to become the top-most run-scorer in women’s international cricket. Mithali also holds the record for receiving a plethora of awards on the national and international levels. She received the Arjuna Award in 2003, the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2015, the rare recognition of Wisden Leading Women Cricketer in the World in 2017, and The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021.
How did Mithali focus on becoming the most successful woman batter in India? No one becomes a hero in a single day. The process requires dedication and support of an environment suitable to nurture the dream. Mithali was blessed with teachers who helped her to realise her ambition and keep herself on the right track to success. Mithali is the successful protege of the late Sampath Kumar. She blossomed under the able guidance of Kumar and went further to develop a style of her own. Observers found similarities between Bharatnatyam’s moves and her nifty movements on the cricket field. The unparalleled precision of her batting strikes and calculative mind helped her achieve an unchallenged position in women’s cricket.
Mithali Raj is undeniably the pride of India. She has shown the World how focus and determination can bring success to one’s life. Everyone will always remember the name, Mithali Raj. She proved that nothing could stop you from being successful if you were focused on your life. She has been a potential source of inspiration for the aspiring women cricketers of India. Her focused attitude and superb ability to adapt to all forms of cricket are responsible for her constant sway over the history of Indian cricket for more than two decades.
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