Mithali Raj

BLOG BY : Riya Rathore

Veteran batsman Mithali Raj will lead the Indian cricket team in the ICC Women’s World Cup that will be held in England and Wales from June 24 to July 23.The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) All-India Women’s Selection Committee met on Monday to select the 15-member team for the upcoming tournament.Mithali Raj at 19 emerged as one of India’s most capable batsmen with a staggering 214 against England in the second and final Test at Taunton. The middle-order bat now has the second highest score in women’s Test cricket, having been surpassed by Kiran Baluch who scored 242 against West Indies in March 2004.

Playing for Railways in the domestic competition, Mithali began by playing with stars like Purnima Rau, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain for Air India. Now, though, she has emerged as one of India’s most dependable bats, scoring heavily in both one-dayers and Tests. Her composure when at the crease and ability to score briskly make her a dangerous customer. In addition to her ability with the bat, Raj rolls her arm over bowling leg-spinners and providing variety to any attack.Raj has grasped every opportunity she has been presented with – and impressed. Coming to the wicket at times when batting is difficult, Mithali has shown an ability to soldier on without being perturbed. A star in the one-dayers, Mithali was taken ill with a strain of typhoid in the CricInfo Women’s World Cup in 2002, seriously hampering India’s progress. However, she then led them to their first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa, where they met Australia who proved just too strong. In August 2006 she led the side to their first-ever Test and series victory in England and wrapped up the year winning the Asia Cup – the second time in 12 months – without dropping a single game. India’s best attempt at the prestigious event was when they finished runners-up to Australia in the 2005 edition that was held in South Africa. In 2005, Mithali led the Indian side to the finals of the CricInfo Women’s World Cup against Australia. In 2013, Mithali was ranked No. 1 Cricketer in the ODI chart for women cricketers. She is also credited as being the second person to achieve 5000 runs in women’s ODI cricket. In 2015, Mithali was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. In 2003, Mithali was awarded the Arjuna Award by the Government of India for outstanding achievement in sports.

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