India cricket superstar Mithali Raj became only the 4th cricketer and the 1st in women’s cricket to complete 20 years in international cricket.
Mithali Raj has completed 20 years and 105 days in the highest form of cricket. Notably, Mithali had played her 1st-ever ODI for India in June, 1999 against Ireland. She lead India in her 205th ODI on Wednesday against South Africa at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.
Sachin Tendulkar (22 years and 91 days), Sanath Jayasuriya (21 years and 184 days) and Javed Miandad (20 years and 272 days) have had longer careers (in terms of number of years played) in international cricket.
Mithali Raj already holds the record for the most number of ODIs played by a female cricketer (204), 23 more than 2nd-placed England’s Charlotte Edwards (191). India’s senior pacer Jhulan Goswami is 3rd on the list with 178 matches.
Mithali Raj celebrated the milestone by leading India to a 8-wicket win over South Africa in the 1st ODI of the 3-match series. In the absence of injured opener Smriti Mandhana, debutant Priya Punia (75) and teenager Jemimah Rodrigues (55) shone as India gunned down a 165-run target with ease. Earlier, veteran pacer Jhulan shone with the ball, finishing with figures of 3/33.
Mithali Raj, who led India to the final of the 2017 Women’s World Cup, is keen on making it count in what will be her final 50-over World Cup in 2021. She retired from T20Is earlier this year to focus on prolonging her 50-over career.
“After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 One Day World Cup. It remains my dream to win a World Cup for my country and I want to give it my best. I thank the BCCI for their continuous support and wish the Indian T20 team good luck as they prepare for the home series against South Africa Women,” 36-year-old Mithali Raj had said.