Mithali Raj - Tendulkar of Indian Women's Cricket

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Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj. (Photo by Ankur Salvi-IDI/Getty Images)

Indian Women’s team skipper, Mithali Raj is one of the best cricketers in the history of the game and almost holds every possible record in Indian Women’s cricket. To start with, she is currently the leading run-getter for India in all formats of the game. She scored 214 in a Test against England in 2002, which was the highest score in women’s cricket at that time.

In an interview to cricket country, she talks about her journey to become a cricketer, her general views about women’s cricket and about her favorite cricketers and revealed the reason behind her improved aggressive cricket over the last 2 years.

What asked to explain how she became a cricketer in late 1990s,  “You should ask that to my parents (smiles). They took most career decisions for me when I was young. I became a cricketer because they wanted me to be one.”

“It started with my brother. He used to play cricket in school. Actually, when I was young, I used to go with my father where he practiced. I used to stand outside the ground and returned the ball when it came my way. That was how it started,” she added.

Also read: 15 Facts about Mithali Raj – The Pioneer of Indian Women’s Cricket

Mithali said that in her summer vacations, she used to play with boys which helped her hone her skills. She believes that playing with men can help improve the standard of women’s cricket. “See, there is no denying that men are physically superior to women, which is why there will always be a gap. Practicing with, say, Ranji Trophy cricketers will definitely help.”

“Having said that, when it comes to pure skill, I strongly believe we are at par with the men,” she emphasized.

Speaking about the reasons why Women’s cricket is not receiving much popularity as Men’s, she said, “Women’s international matches are typically played at smaller venues. They can always promote these matches in these cities beforehand.

Also read: Ross Taylor mistaken as Grey Worm from Game of Thrones

“The Women’s World T20 earlier this year was promoted very well. If bilateral series are promoted the same way, women’s cricket is bound to get attention. It is also important that all international matches are telecast live,” the 33-year old pointed out.

The Indian skipper also credited Smriti Mandhana and Thirush Kamini for taking the pressure over her with consistent performances. “While Thirushkamini has been around for some time, Smriti is very young but has been consistent. They were very good, to begin with, but I thought it was important that they went on to score consistently,” she said.

“Once they showed that maturity, I realized I was not under the same kind of pressure every time I went out. In the last two years I have started to open up a bit when I have gone out to bat,” she added.

Also read: BCCI planning to launch a women’s T20 league

Mithali also said that Karen Rolton of Australia was her favorite cricketer along with fellow teammate Neetu David and former English cricketer Lucy Pearson as she is one of the bowlers, who had troubled her on a consistent basis.

“Karen Rolton has to be there. She was a very attractive left-hander. Then there was Neetu David: I think it was my privilege that I played alongside her.”

“Oh and Lucy Pearson (smiles). She was tall, 3 or 4 inches taller than even Jhulan (Goswami). She got bounce from that height and moved the ball both ways. I would say she is the only bowler who has bothered me on a consistent basis,” she concluded.

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