Mithali Raj, the former captain of the Indian women’s cricket team retires from international cricket
Mithali Raj, India’s all-time greatest cricketer, has declared her retirement from international competition. Mithali, 39, announced the news on Twitter, where she gave a heartfelt letter that summed up her 23-year career. Mithali Raj retires as the most-capped female cricketer in India’s history, as well as the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket, with 10,868 runs from 333 matches.
She tweeted, “Thank you for all your love & support over the years! I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support. 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.”
Mithali made her debut in 1999 at the age of 16 and went on to become one of the all-time greats and a keystone of India’s batting over the following two decades, winning the Arjuna award, the Padma Shri award, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award in 2021. Mithali came into the scene as a youngster and made an immediate impression, hitting a century on her ODI debut. She became the youngest century in women’s cricket when she scored an unbroken 114 against Ireland. Mithali currently holds the record for WODIs.
Mithali led India to the finals of two World Cups as captain, in 2005 and 2017, but the coveted title evaded her. Mithali’s record in One-Day Internationals is unrivalled, with 7805 runs scored from 232 matches at a remarkable average of 50.68, including seven centuries. Despite the outside buzz about her role in the Indian T20I set-up, Mithali is the county’s leading run-getter in T20Is as well. Despite only appearing in 12 Tests, she is India’s only double-centurion (214 versus England in 2002).
Mithali’s final international match would be against South Africa at the World Cup as a result of the decision. She made 68 runs off 84 balls, but it wasn’t enough as India was knocked out by three wickets. Mithali was the first batter in women’s ODI history to achieve seven fifty in a row.
“It was an honour 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.