The Indian men’s cricket team is one of the best teams in all formats among the other world class teams. People following men’s cricket are many. People know the names of every player playing for the nation. Many fans go craze on their favourite stars. There is also women’s cricket in India which was played from many years back. But people following women’s cricket are very few. The count is incomparable with that of men’s cricket. In men’s cricket, there are many idols like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli. But there is no big name in women’s cricket that everyone knows. The reason is apparent. There is no proper plan and infrastructure for women’s cricket across the country in domestic State level and District level. There was no inspiration for girls to take up cricket. They didn’t get to know the life of a woman cricketer. They didn’t have any idea of how would the life be after playing for the nation; what are the benefits they get; and how to get into a State level team. No growth of women’s cricket was seen till 2010s.
This situation prevailed for some years until 2011. After that a name had gone familiar with people. That name is Mithali Raj. She is also called as the lady Sachin Tendulkar of India. She has a pretty long and successful career. She made her debut in 1999 and is still playing for the country with career spanning over 2 decades. At 16, Raj scored an unbeaten 114 on ODI debut and soon established herself as the lynchpin of India’s batting. The roots of her copybook stroke play lay in her precocious talent that blossomed under the tutelage of her former coach, the late Sampath Kumar, and a regimented upbringing in an army family. With a passion for Bharatanatyam, her nifty footwork found expression on the field, becoming as much a hallmark of her batting as have been grace and an unrivalled precision at plundering runs in the cover region. She captained the Indian team for the first time at a young age of 22 years. She holds the record of having 3rd longest test careers, playing for 19 years. She is the 2nd highest run scorer in history of women’s cricket in all three formats added. She scored 10266 runs in her career totally. She has an amazing average of 44.6 in tests, 51.26 in ODI’s and 37 in T20s.
After her, many girls took up cricket as their career and started representing India. BCCI also looked up to the growth of women’s cricket. They developed the infrastructure and conducted many domestic games which boosted the talents to work hard. Also created a craze for young girls towards cricket. In the growth of Indian women’s cricket, there is a notable contribution done by Mithali Raj. She was also awarded with Padma Shri and Arjuna Award for cricket. She deserves every honour that she received. Thank you Mithali Raj.