Breaking: A significant loss for India’s women cricket team, Mithali Raj announced her retirement from T20 cricket internationals. The former India T20I captain ended her career after leading in thirty-two T20Is including the three women’s WT20 World Cups in 2012 in Sri Lanka, 2014 in Bangladesh and 2016 in India.
With a total of 2364 runs from 89 matches at an average of 37.52 including 17 fifties and a highest score of 97 not out, she finished as India’s top scorer in the women’s game. Her coach and mentor RSR Murthy calls it disappointing and an end to a brilliant career.
In an interview, she said that her decision to retire was neither an overnight decision nor was it taken under pressure or somebody’s influence. She had been thinking about it for a year, and it was not tough. She got busy and did not have much time as after the home series they had the IPL exhibition games and a month camp followed by a domestic match. She officially put the news of retirement across to the BCCI as soon as she got the time.
But why did Mithali Raj retire?
Before she announced her retirement, she confirmed her availability for the T20I series against South Africa. However, with the focus of the selectors on youngsters ahead of the coming year’s T20 world cup in Australia, she said she wasn’t sure about her participation. She was also kept out from Indian women’s next T20 International against New Zealand in Wellington. The idea behind this was to give a chance to the young girls.
During an interview, she said that she wanted to focus all her energy on winning the 2021 world cup for India and wished to give her best. She also declared she has big ambitions for ODIs.
Do you think Mithali Raj should have continued?
The last match played by her was a T20 international against England Women in Guwahati in March 2019 where she scored 30 runs from 30 deliveries. She is often termed as the “Lady Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket” as holds the title of the leading run-scorer for India in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is.
- She had captained Indian women’s first-ever T20 back in 2006 in Derby.
- Mithali Raj was the first female to serve the Indian national team for over 20 years.
- Apart from being the captain of the team, she became the first woman cricketer to reach the milestone of 2000 WT20I runs and the only female cricketer to beat the 6000 run mark in WODIs.
- She is the first-ever player to score seven consecutive fifties in the ODIs and made a record.
- She is the first Indian woman cricketer to score more than 1000 world cup runs as well.
- She became the first woman to take part in 200 ODI matches during India’s series against New Zealand women.
- She has also received several awards such as the Wisden leading woman cricketer in the world, the Arjuna award, the Padma Shri award, etc.
After the start of Indian women’s cricket said goodbye to T20, a lot of twitter reactions broke out. Most of them praised her for her achievements and wished her for the future ahead. Everyone is excited to see her in the 2021 ODI world cup as the captain achieving another glorious victory for India.
With so many glories, it would be challenging for somebody to fit in her boots when it comes to T20 internationals and India’s outing. Mithali Raj is undoubtedly an excellent Indian woman cricketer. If Sachin Tendulkar is an icon for the Men’s team, Mithali is for the women’s team. Only the future will tell if the Indian women’s cricket team will have another player like her.