Written by Saanchi Biyani, a grade 5 student.
As a child, as I look over my balcony, I see a big playground, wherein all the boys continue playing cricket specifically if it’s a holiday or a weekend. I wonder why only boys. I wonder why only Cricket. Till I came to know that Cricket is a religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is God.
I spoke to my dad and he took me to 1990s wherein he spoke about two big storms that gave us miracle growth and made India self-reliant and more confident. The first one was the 1991 economic reforms wherein we opened our economy to the World, while the second one, (no guesses), was the rise of India as a cricketing nation – thanks to Sachin Tendulkar who carried the game single handily on his shoulders for many years. A cricket fan by himself, he then shared too many stories about the men in blue. I kept quiet and listened to him sincerely but at the back of my mind I wasn’t feeling too good about it. The reason – he did not utter a single word about women and Cricket.
Post this conversation, I did my own research to check why do boys only play cricket. Thankfully, I was wrong. We have a well firmed women in blue team also and they have done wonders. If Sachin Tendulkar is the God of Cricket, then, let me introduce, Mithali Dorai Raj, the Goddess of Cricket in India.
More about her…
Mithali Dorai Raj is an Indian cricketer and one day international (ODI) captain of the women’s national cricket team. She is a right-handed opening batswoman and a regular right-arm leg-break bowler. Having surpassed the 7,000-run mark in Women’s ODI matches, she holds the record for the all-time leading run scores across all the formats in India. She became the first player to score seven back-to-back 50s in ODI’s. She also holds the record for most of the half-centuries in Women’s ODIs. In June 2018 during the Women’s Twenty 20 Asia Cup, she became the first cricketer from India to score 2000 runs. She averages 51.80 in ODIs, which is better than Sachin Tendulkar, and, is almost at par with cricketers, such as, Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
MithaliRaj is the only female player to have captained India in ICC ODI World Cup Finals (2005 and 2017). While playing against New Zealand on the 1st of February 2019, she became the first woman to play in 200 ODI matches. She declared her retirement from T20Is in March 2019 to focus on ODI cricket matches.
She is the receiver of several national and international awards, including the Wisden (Wisden is the bible of Cricket published annually in United Kingdom) Leading Woman Cricketer in 2017, Arjuna Award for cricket in 2003, and the Padma Shri in 2015.
As on today, MithaliRaj is 39 years and still playing cricket! She was born on 3rd December 1982 in a Tamil family in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her father’s name is Dorai Raj, who was an Airman in the Indian Air Force; thereafter, worked at Andhra Bank. Her mother’s name is Leela Raj she worked with the engineering instruments division of Lawrence and Mayo. Mithali Raj started playing cricket at the age of 10. She now lives in Hyderabad, Telangana. She last played her ODI match on 3rdJuly 2021 v England.
Mithali Raj in October 2019became the first woman to complete two decades in ODI cricket. She has also published an Autobiography called Unguarded. She is an inspiration for many girls, like I, who want to play cricket which is men’s game. As the adage goes, why should boys have all the fun.
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