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Mithali Raj, former Indian skipper and iconic batter turns 37

Mithali Raj, former Indian skipper and iconic batter turns 37
Highlights

Former Indian captain Mithali Raj, who has been the poster girl of Indian women's cricket for close to two decades now, turned 37 on Tuesday (Dec.

Former Indian captain Mithali Raj, who has been the poster girl of Indian women's cricket for close to two decades now, turned 37 on Tuesday (Dec. 3).

With a total tally of 9,915 runs, across formats, Mithali is the highest run-scorer in women's international cricket. Regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced the sport with her presence, Mithali has clinched several records over the last 20 years.

Mithali (2,364 runs), who has retired from the Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), is India's current third highest run-scorer in the shortest format of the game after Rohit Sharma (2,539 runs) and Virat Kohli (2,450 runs). However, it was Mithali who became the first Indian cricketer (male or female) to touch the 2,000-mark in the T20Is. She achieved the feat in June 2018 during the 2018 Women's T20 Asia Cup.

Mithali is also the only Indian skipper - male or female - to have captained India in more than one ICC Cricket World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017. Unfortunately, after devoting 20 years of her life to cricket, the tag of a World Cup winner still eludes the veteran. Earlier this year in October, Mithali also became the first-ever female cricketer to have completed two decades in international cricket.

Born to a Tamil family in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Mithali has lived in Hyderabad for most of her life. At 10, she started to play the game and six years later, she announced herself in ODI cricket in style.

The right-handed batter had contrasting India debuts. While she smashed 114 on her ODI debut against Ireland, Mithali kickstarted her Test career with a duck against England Women in 2002 in Lucknow.

Mithali has delivered in all the three formats, over the years, before she bowed out of the T20Is recently to focus on ODIs. She has shown the ability to anchor the innings in the top-order, time and again, and inspired nearly two generations knocking the doors of Indian cricket.

She is one of those players who like to the safe approach and keep her strikes grounded. She takes her own time to settle into the pitch before unleashing herself once she knows she is comfortable enough to do so.

The broadcast deals were an unknown set-up in women's cricket until recently but that did not bother Mithali, who year after year shouldered the responsibility of Indian women's cricket to drag them forward. She just needed to score runs, win matches and that's all she had focussed on.

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