In what happens to be bittersweet news for Indian cricket, India women’s team skipper Mithali Raj has announced her retirement from international cricket. After an unfortunate campaign in the world cup earlier this year, where India were eliminated by the closest of margins, Mitali knew that her time was up and rightly decided to hand the baton of women’s cricket to the future generations.
Mithali made her debut at 16 and went on to become the highest run scorer for India in limited overs format. In 232 ODIs, 12 Tests and 89 T20Is in all, 195 of them as captain she went on to cement her place as one of the all time greats. In Women’s Tests, she is India’s only double centurion, with her 214 against England in 2002 also being the second-highest individual score in the game.
Mithali made her ODI debut against Ireland in 1999 and scored a terrific 114 not out played her last ODI against South Africa in the women’s world cup in 2022 and signed off with a robust knock of 68.
In the 2017 world cup, when all the cricket pundits virtually wrote of the Indian team, she led India to the finals, only to fall agonizingly short by 9 runs. In that tournament, she scored a match winning 100 in a must win game against New Zealand and left the fans mesmerized with her strokeplay.
In 2018, at the womens’ world T20 in the West Indies, she was embroiled in an unnecessary controversy with then head coach Ramesh Powar and captain Harmanpreet Kaur. She called time on her T20 career in 2019 and still remains the highest scorer in the format.
Mithali was felicitated with several awards, including the Rajiv Gandhi khel ratna award in 2021 and the Arjuna and the Padma Shri and leaves behind a truly memorable legacy for the girls to follow suit.
Soon after her retirement, tributes from the cricketing fraternity and outside poured in praising her both as a captain and player to have graced the international stage.
“Thank you for all your love & support over the years!
I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support” was her official tweet a few hours after she took the decision.
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