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Mithali Raj: Champion, Leader, and Icon of Women's Cricket

Mithali Dorai Raj, born on December 3, 1982, is a legendary figure in Indian women's cricket, known for her implacable leadership. Groundbreaking achievements started her international career at 16, she quickly became the highest run-scorer in women's ODIs. She captained the Indian team to two World Cup finals, significantly raising the profile of women's cricket in India. Beyond her on-field success, Mithali has strongly advocated for better support and visibility for women's cricket. Retiring in 2022, her legacy as a trailblazer and mentor continues to influence the sport, inspiring future generations of cricketers.

By Shreya Rajvanshi Gangal

Mithali Raj: Champion, Leader, and Icon of Women's Cricket

Early Life and Introduction to Cricket

Mithali Dorai Raj was born on December 3, 1982, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Raised in a Tamil family, Mithali showed early promise in sports, particularly in cricket. Her father, Dorai Raj, was an Airman in the Indian Air Force, and her mother, Leela Raj, was a homemaker. Mithali's journey into cricket began at the tender age of 10. Noticing her prodigious talent, her parents enrolled her in a cricket coaching camp, where she quickly stood out due to her exceptional skills.

Domestic and International Debut

Mithali made her debut for the Indian women's cricket team in June 1999 at the age of 16. She immediately made an impact by scoring an unbeaten 114 against Ireland in her first One Day International (ODI). This performance marked the beginning of a remarkable career, setting the stage for her future achievements.

Rise to Prominence

Several standout performances marked Mithali's early years in international cricket. In 2002, she scored a staggering 214 against England in a Test match, which was then the highest individual score in women's Test cricket. This feat not only highlighted her batting prowess but also established her as a key player for the Indian team.

Achievements and Records

  • Highest Run-Scorer in Women's ODIs: Mithali is the highest run-scorer in women's ODIs, amassing over 7,000 runs during her career.
  • Longest Career in Women's ODIs: She holds the record for the longest career in women's ODIs, spanning over two decades.
  • Captaincy: Mithali captained the Indian women's cricket team in more than 150 matches across all formats, showcasing her leadership skills and strategic acumen.
  • ICC Awards: She has been named in the ICC Women's ODI Team of the Year multiple times and has received numerous accolades for her contributions to the sport.

Leadership and Legacy

Under Mithali's captaincy, the Indian women's cricket team reached new heights. She led the team to the finals of the 2005 and 2017 ICC Women's Cricket World Cups. The 2017 World Cup, in particular, brought unprecedented attention to women's cricket in India, despite the team narrowly losing to England in the final. Mithali's calm demeanour and strategic brilliance were instrumental in this success, inspiring a generation of young cricketers.

Personal Life and Off-Field Contributions

Mithali Raj's personal life is as disciplined as her professional one. Known for her love of classical dance, she trained in Bharatanatyam in her childhood before fully committing to cricket. Mithali is also an avid reader, often seen with a book in hand during cricket tours and matches.

Advocacy for Women's Cricket

Beyond her on-field achievements, Mithali has been a vocal advocate for women's cricket. She has consistently called for better facilities, greater financial support, and increased visibility for women's cricket in India. Her efforts have contributed significantly to the growing popularity and support for the women's game in the country.

Retirement and Future Endeavors

Mithali Raj announced her retirement from T20 Internationals in September 2019 and from all forms of international cricket in June 2022. Her departure marked the end of an era, but her influence on the game remains profound. Post-retirement, Mithali has expressed interest in coaching and mentoring young cricketers, aiming to nurture the next generation of Indian women's cricket stars.


Mithali Dorai Raj's story is one of dedication, resilience, and pioneering spirit. Her achievements on the cricket field have not only brought glory to the nation but also paved the way for future generations of female cricketers. As a player, captain, and advocate, Mithali's legacy is a testament to what can be achieved with talent, hard work, and unwavering commitment.

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