Mithali Raj’s unprecedented exploits in women’s cricket has made many compare her with none other than the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, the most decorated batsman in world cricket. In fact, many call her the Sachin Tendulkar of women’s cricket.
However, the India women team’s skipper is not very happy with the comparison, and the reason behind the same is more or less spot on. Mithali has been leading the national team for over a decade, but unlike her male counterparts, she hasn’t enjoyed the fan following and the media hype that surrounds an Indian cricketer. Moreover, her playing career is nothing less than remarkable. Mithali, who has been serving the nation with utmost aplomb for the last 18 years, made her debut way back in 1999 as a sixteen-year-old.
Three years later, she marked her arrival at the highest stage of the game with a staggering 214 against England which was the highest score in women’s Test cricket before being broken by Kiran Baluch in 2004. Her legacy then only grew stronger with each passing day. She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in ODIs.
The 34-year old is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs and is the first captain (men or women) to lead India to an ICC ODI World Cup final twice – 2005 and 2017. But despite doing so much, Mithali perhaps does not get the credits she deserves, and she expressed her feelings in a recent show.
Insisting that it took her close to two decades to carve her own identity and, hinted that she does not get as much credit as Sachin Tendulkar despite playing for the country for the last 18 years.
“The other day I was just sharing this with my friend, I said when Sachin started playing for India at the age of say very young and even I have represented India at the age of sixteen, not many knew about it. He has had a long career of 22-plus years, I have 18 years but it took me 18 years for people to stand up and watch me play today,” she said while speaking at We The Women Asia.
“But for Sachin, people have been noticing him from beginning so had you all seen me play from sixteen years, I am sure I would be somewhere around that standard (Sachin’s achievements). Each time it took a lot out of me and the women cricketers to create our own identity.
Today after 18 years, people still say when they give an introduction, ‘Sachin Tendulkar of women cricket’. I am here to create my own identity, 18 years I have not aped Sachin, I have not played like him, I have played what ability I have. So why do you even compare me with him,” she added.
Video of the day: