Princess for January: Mithali Raj

Find out more about Mithali Raj who has taken the world of Women's Cricket by storm.

Thursday, January 17, 2022

Mastering of the 'Gentleman's Game'!

Sportz Interactive

© Mamta Joseph
Mithali Raj smashes one to the fence during her knock of a 150 runs at a women’s cricket tournament in Ananthpur (Andhra Pradesh) in November 2007.

Shy, diminutive and unassuming, Mithali Raj can easily be missed in a crowd but when on a cricket field, you can’t miss her very easily. Her confidence, coupled with the sheer enormity of her talent, makes the on-field Mithali an antithesis of the one off the field one.

Our reporter Mamta Joseph caught up with India's captain during the recently concluded domestic tournament in Ananthpur, Andhra Pradesh.

Mithali Raj took to cricket as a child when she began accompanying her brother to his cricket camps, “Cricket just happened to me because I wanted to lose the habit of waking up late.” She says. “I went along with my brother and fetched the ball for the boys at the camp…” Soon enough she joined the camp herself and by the end of that year she was selected to represent her club. 

Before long, Mithali had decided to make a career out of the “gentleman’s game” but the decision was not easy as she had to choose between a career in cricket and a career in classical dancing. At that time, Mithali had been training for eight long years and was all set to make a career as a professional dancer. But her love for cricket surpassed her love for dancing and the rest as the cliché goes “is history”.

Mithali has come along way since the beginning of her cricket journey. Her unassuming appearance has always helped her ease into the role of a ‘silent killer’. In her ODI debut game against Ireland in 1999 she made an unbeaten 109 to help India cruise to a 161 run victory. A few years later in just her third test match appearance, she made a stunning 214 runs, which to this day stands tall as the second highest individual score by a woman in International cricket.   

Nickname: Mithu
Date of Birth: 3rd December, 1982
Age: 25
Place of Birth: Jhodpur, Rajistan
Major Teams: Railways, India Women
Batting Style: Right hand bat
Bolwing Style: Right arm off-spin
Special Skill: One-down bat
Favourite Cricketers: Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Michael Bevan, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara

I have never got a chance to enjoy that innings since it happened so fast and I was too young to realize the magnitude of my achievement…” said Mithali when asked about her mammoth achievement. Her appetite for big scores has become the hallmark of her batting. Her composure at the crease and her ability to score briskly are two of Mithali’s biggest strengths.

“Every sport has politics
but the only thing that can beat politics is performance”, says Mithali Raj, and true to that statement she has overcome all the usual problems in her sport, purely by her consistently breathtaking performance.