The captain of India in the ODI format, Mithali Raj became the first woman cricketer to play 200 matches in the ODI format on Friday. 

The stalwart of Indian Women’s Cricket, the captain Mithali Raj has achieved a rare milestone on Friday with the 200 appearances in ODI during the final match against White Ferns of their three-match ODI series at Hamilton. After reaching the feat, she said that she did not pay any attention to her records.

Having made her ODI debut against Ireland in Milton Keynes in January 1999, she had smashed a century and became one of those 5 players, who scored centuries in their debut matches. She is also the highest run-getter in the Women’s Cricket with 6622 runs.

“200 is just a number for me but it feels nice to come so far,” the ODI captain said after India won their first series against White Ferns in New Zealand.

“I have seen different stages of [transformation] women’s cricket across the globe since I made by debut way back in 1999 under IWCC [International Women’s Cricket Council]. Coming under ICC, we could see the difference. I am just happy to represent the country for so long,” Mithali said.

Mithali Raj’s career is now on the verge of completion it’s two decades; where hardly few records left which she couldn’t achieve.

“When I started, I didn’t think that I will come so far,” said Mithali Raj. “Initially, my aim was to only wear the India colours, be one of the core members of the team but never did I think that I will continue to play for so long,” Mithali added.

During this nearly 20-years long International career, Mithali has faced many ups and downs; which included the recent public spat between Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji and former coach Ramesh Powar regarding her exclusion from the team during the semi-final against Australia in the ICC World T20 last year.

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She has always tried to adopt the changes gracefully and stood strong whenever the team is needed her.

“When you have a long career, you have different elements and reasoning that comes into factor. But one thing has been to constantly thrive and change my game to suit different conditions, different areas of my game and trying to keep up with the international standards,” Mithali told.

“I’ve seen joys, I’ve seen highs and lows. When you have a long career it is part of it and I’m grateful to all the coaches who have worked on my game, to my parents, to my mentors and of course to BCCI and to WCI also because I made my debut under that association. I’m just glad that people who have made a difference in my career, I’m very grateful to them,” she further expressed her gratitude for those who made an impact in her career.

India won the first two matches convincingly wherein the third, White Ferns registered a comfortable win by 8 wickets. While talking about the improvements of the team and further requirements, she urged some more support from the fast bowlers.

“I think the middle order definitely needs more outing in terms of batting. And also when the spinners are getting hit, we need little more support from the fast bowlers. Of course, Jhulan [Goswami] is experienced but we need to have… maybe having an all-rounder in the squad, in the eleven can be useful on these tracks when you know that on a given day that the spinners are not doing, the all-rounder can step in. It’s again a choice but we definitely need to work on these areas,” said Mithali.

Having said that, Raj also expressed that she was impressed with the spinners as well. They had performed really well throughout the series and made a great impact. The spin troika – Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma scalped 15 wickets in the series combinedly.

“I think the first game the spinners have dominated and the opening pair has given us a great start, chasing 170 odd runs and without losing the openers initially has definitely given us confidence. Getting into the second game also the spinners have continued to carry that momentum from the first game, Though we had a collapse, the partnership between me and Smriti has helped us. I think overall the Indian team has always banked on the spinners and they’ve done well on this surface as well,” Mithali further added.


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