Mithali Raj, veteran India batter and captain, retires from international cricket

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj will go down as one of the most influential Indians of her generation. (Getty)

Mithali Raj, the quintessential legend of Indian cricket, has announced her retirement from international cricket. Mithali, 39, made the announcement on Twitter where she shared a heartwarming statement summing up her 23-year-long career. Mithali retires not only as of the most-capped India women’s cricketer of all time but also as the leading run-scorer in women’s international cricket having amassed 10,868 runs from 333 appearances for India.

“Thank you for all your love & support over the years! I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support,” she tweeted. “I feel now is the perfect time to call curtains on my playing career as the team is in the capable hands of some very talented young players and the future of Indian Cricket is bright.”

A recipient of the Arjuna award, a Padma Shri awardee, and winner of the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021, Mithali made her debut in 1999 at the age of 16 and over the next two decades became one of the all-time greats and a linchpin of India’s batting. Mithali burst onto the scene as a teenager and immediately announced herself, slamming a century on her ODI debut. She hit an unbeaten 114 against Ireland to become the youngest centurion in women’s cricket. As far as WODIs, Mithali holds the record to date.

As captain, Mithali led India to the finals of two World Cups – 2005 and 2017, but unfortunately, the elusive crown eluded her. In ODIs, Mithali’s record is unparalleled, having scored 7805 runs from 232 matches at an impressive average of 50. 68, including seven centuries. In T20Is too, Mithali is the county’s highest run-getter despite outside noise about her place in the Indian T20I set-up. She played only 12 Tests but remains India’s only double-centurion (214 vs England in 2002) in the format.

Thank you for all your love & support over the years!
I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support.

— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) June 8, 2022

“A wonderful career comes to an end! Thank you @M_Raj03 for your immense contribution to Indian cricket. Your leadership on the field has brought much glory to the National women’s team. Congratulations for illustrious innings on the field and best wishes for your next innings,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah tweeted congratulating Mithali on her wonderful career.

With the decision, the ODI against South Africa during the World Cup would go down in history as Mithali’s final international game. She scored 68 off 84 balls but it wasn’t enough as India lost the match by three wickets to get knocked out. Mithali was the first batter to score seven fifties in a row in women’s ODIs.

“It was an honor to have led the team for so many years. It definitely shaped me as a person & hopefully helped shape Indian Women’s Cricket as well,” she wrote in her statement.

Having said that, Mithali mentioned that she would like to enter the next chapter of life, which judging by her statement, will revolve around cricket. “The journey may have ended but another one beckons as I’d like to stay involved in the game I love and contribute to the growth of Women’s cricket in India and the world over,” the statement concluded.

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