Records, Hobbies, Idols: 10 Things to Know About Mithali Raj
As India battles it out in the ICC Women’s World Cup, here are a few fun facts about India’s Test and ODI captain.
Mithali Raj is the face of women’s cricket for Indians who follow the sport as a religion and value the players as idols. But the women in blue are not the same for people who don’t follow cricket religiously.
Mithali is the superwoman, who has defied all odds and emerged as the brand ambassador of women’s cricket in India.
In the ICC Women’s World Cup match against Australia, Mithali Raj became the highest run-getter in ODIs.
After she scored 34 runs, the Indian captain went past England’s Charlotte Edwards’ record of 5,992 runs. She was eventually dismissed for 69 runs.
Here are a few fun facts about India’s Test and ODI captain.
1. Mithali Started Her Cricketing Journey at the Age of 10
Daughter of an Air Force officer, Mithali was admitted to St. John's cricket coaching camp in Hyderabad by her parents to get rid of her laziness. She was just 10 years old at the time.
Former Hyderabad Ranji player Jyothi Prasad was her first coach. She has represented Railways, Air India and India Blue in the domestic circuit.
2. Youngest to Score an ODI Century
She was just 16 years and 250 days old on her debut, when she scored an unbeaten 114 against Ireland in 1999 at Milton Keynes.
And at the age of 19, in her third Test, she broke Karen Rolton's record of World’s highest individual Test score of 209 by scoring a new high of 214 against England at Taunton. The record has since been surpassed by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan who scored 242 against West Indies in March 2004.
3. Mithali’s Excellent Run as Captain
She became the youngest captain of the Indian Cricket Team at the age of 21 in 2004. She has led the team in over 100 matches, maximum by an Indian woman.
She led the team to its best run in the world cup (runners-up in 2005) and guided the team to three Asia Cup victories between 2005 and 2008.
4. Holds the Record of Most Nineties
She has five centuries under her belt, but she also holds the record for scoring most 90s. Mithali has scored five 90s in her seventeen-year long career. With the ODI batting average of 51.37, Mithali has the highest batting average for a batter with over 100 innings.
5. Recipient of Many Prestigious Awards
Mithali Raj received the Arjuna award in 2003 and in 2015 she was chosen over Virat Kohli for Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by Government of India.
She is also the first female cricketer to be recognised as one of the six Wisden India Cricketers of the Year in 2015.
6. Reads Books Before Batting
Reading helps her to overcome the pressure of the competition that is why she brings her kindle on all her tours.
She was recently seen reading a book by Jalaluddin Rumi before scoring 71 against England in the World Cup opener.
7. Classical Dance or Civil Services, If Not Cricket
Mithali, who is now the second most capped player in women’s ODIs with 183 matches, was a passionate Bharatnatyam dancer as a young girl.
But, later, chose cricket over dance. She is just 8 matches behind Charlotte Edwards of England (191) to become the most capped ODI player in women’s cricket.
8. Active on Social Media Platforms
She keeps her fans updated via various social media platforms. Mithali is widely followed on Twitter with over 20k followers. With the commencement of ICC Women’s Wold Cup 2017, she also got her own Twitter emoji. She has a good presence on Facebook with over 400,000 likes, and on Instagram with more than 89k followers.
9. Mithali Mirrors the Great Sachin Tendulkar
Mithali is now the leading run-scorer in ODIs, just like the great Sachin Tendulkar, who is the leading run-scorer in men’s ODI history with 18,426 runs.
The Indian captain not only became the first woman to score seven consecutive ODI fifties but also now holds the record for most fifties in women’s ODIs (49).
10. Admires Ponting and Tendulkar
Coming into bat with her signature floppy hat and blue jersey number 3 (her birth date 3rd December), Mithali, admires the batting style of legends such as Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.
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