Mithali Raj will go down in history books as one of the greatest-ever cricketers to have played this beautiful game. And, we are not even talking about her numbers just yet.
Mithali will always be remembered as someone who went on to revolutionize women’s cricket; someone who made the young girls pick up a cricket bat and think that it’s actually okay to dream about representing their country at the highest despite having all the odds stacked against them.
Mithali Raj recently completed 21 years in International cricket. Having burst on the scene as a 16-year-old, Raj is the only women cricketer to dominate the game for such a long period of time.
When asked about the reason behind her longevity, the current Indian ODI captain admits that there were so many instances in her career when she thought of quitting but ‘there was something’ that kept her going.
“Honestly, I never planned my career just like I don’t plan my innings. Of course, I play according to the situation and so I kind of know something but my career was different. There were times that I was almost on the verge of giving up and taking a retirement. There were a few occasions where I thought that I should call it quits but always there was something that stopped me from doing that. I just went with the flow as and when things happened and played series after series,” Mithali Raj told Times of India.
“If I actually had to plan my career, 21 years is a long time to do it. To follow a habit for 21 years is a big thing. I just felt that if I have to play international cricket then I have to be at my optimum best and that is something that I have always believed in consistency. No matter which phase of my career, every game has mattered to me. When walking into bat, I have always looked to perform well,” she added.
Mithali Raj’s sole focus is currently on the 2021 World Cup
Mithali, 37, is at the twilight of her storied career. But she isn’t done yet. The charismatic Indian batsman, who has led the Women in Blue to two 50-over World Cup finals- 2005 & 2017- is currently focussed on fulfilling her dream- winning the World Cup in 2021.
“I don’t plan anything. Right now my focus is on the World Cup and doing well in it is my goal. After that maybe play a few series but I don’t know what exactly. I wake up every morning with the aim of playing my best and that is something which helps me to get through the day,” she added.
Mithali Raj is the highest-ever run-getter in women’s cricket. In 209 ODI games [which is also a record] Raj has 6888 runs to her name with 53 half-centuries and 7 hundreds. Raj has already retired from T20I cricket and next years’ 50-over World Cup might well prove to be her swansong.