Mithali Raj – The Indian Batting Icon

Mithali Raj is one of the greatest players women cricket has produced over the last two decades who also leads Indian women team in Test and ODI format.

Born in a Tamil family and introduced to cricket at a young age, her career has been an inspiration to many young girls who are looking up cricket as a career.

Raj is the highest run-scorer in ODI and the only player to score more than 6000 runs in women’s international cricket. With another few years of cricket left in her, she will become the first Indian women player to cap 200 ODI games in international cricket.

Mithali made her debut in 1999 in ODIs against Ireland in style with an unbeaten century.  The test debut came in a couple of years later in 2001-2002. It didn’t take too long for her showcase her skills in tests as she broke the record of highest individual test score with 214 against England. She has been consistent with the bat and proved her skills even when she comes to the crease at critical times. Her ability to score quickly and read the game situation made her a vital and dangerous player in the Indian side. She is also a part-time spinner which adds more variety to the bowling line-up.

Her absence with illness in the 2002 World cup has severely impacted India’s progress. However, she came back strongly to lead India to the 2005 World Cup final against Australia. She led the team once again into World Cup Final in 2017 to become the first Indian Captain (male/female) to do so in ICC World Cup Final.

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She has led the team to Asia Cup title multiple times during her stint as captain. She also holds the record of most number of half-centuries in ODI and the first player to score seven consecutive half centuries. Mithali has played 197 ODIs and scored 6550 runs at an average of 51 with the highest score of 125. She has seven centuries and 51 half centuries in her ODI career.

Having played 10 Test matches, she is one of the few players who average above 50 in international cricket. She has scored 663 runs with the highest score of 214 which is also the second-best score in women’s international test cricket.

She made her T20 debut in 2006 against England and played 82 matches so far in her career. She is the first Indian player to score more than 2000 runs in the T20 format which includes 15 half-centuries with a highest score of unbeaten 97. She moved to open to the innings in T20s as suggested by her teammate Purnima Rau has reaped tremendous benefits for her career and the Indian team. She has been remarkably consistent at the top and become an indispensable player in the opening slot as she in the middle order in ODI format.

India’s hopes of the first title win in ICC World T20 will depend a lot with Mithali’s performance with the bat in the Caribbean.  With an average above 50 in Test and ODI and 36 in T20s, her consistency is excellent and will play a critical role in India’s progress. She has been around the International cricket for almost two decades and had played against world’s best players across the globe which will help India in the World T20 tournament. With Australia and New Zealand in the same group, her skills with the bat and the leadership experience will be the biggest advantage for India.

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