The captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj, made history by becoming just the third player in history to play in six ICC Women’s Cricket World Cups.
The 39-year-old, who was in the lead for India in their World Cup opener here, only managed nine runs in 36 deliveries before being caught by Pakistan’s Diana Baig off Nashra Sandhu’s bowling on Sunday.
Javed Miandad, a former Pakistan cricketer, participated in the first six Men’s Cricket World Cups between 1975 and 1996, while Sachin Tendulkar started his World Cup career in 1992. Mithali’s action ensured that the record entered a new decade.
After making her tournament debut in 2000, Mithali had already led India at a World Cup by the time Tendulkar’s fantastical result occurred in 2011.
The right-hander now surpasses Australian great Belinda Clark by serving as captain at her fourth ICC Women’s World Cup; according to the ICC, Clark’s time as captain lasted from 1993 to 2005.
The only two players to have led their nation at more than two World Cups are Clark and Mithali.
But Mithali also outshines her fellow batter because the time between the first time she captained her nation and the last time she did so is 17 years, compared to the Australian’s 12-year tenure.
No woman has ever participated in two ICC Women’s World Cups 20 years apart. Hence her World Cup career as a whole has broken records in addition to her role as captain.
The previous holder of the record, Debbie Hockley of New Zealand, made her debut on January 10, 1982, and played her last match, the 2000 final, on December 23, 24 days after Mithali’s debut.
And it is this benchmark that Mithali, 39, finds herself constantly compared to; only Hockley, 45, and Jan Brittin, 36, of England, have participated in more World Cup games. Raj becomes the only woman to have made six appearances at a Women’s World Cup, joining England’s Charlotte Edwards, Clare Taylor, and Hockley as the only other players to have made five appearances.
Mithali Raj Profile
She collaborated with celebrities from Air India, including Purnima Rau, Anjum Chopra, and Anju Jain, during her performance for Railways in the domestic competition.
- On June 26, 1999, Mithali played in her first One-Day International (ODI) match against Ireland and scored an impressive 114 runs.
- She played in her first Test match on January 14, 2002, at Lucknow, India, against England.
- At the age of 19, on August 17, 2002, she took her third Test and scored a new world record of 214, breaking Karen Rolton’s previous mark of 209*.
The World Cup rejection made Raj stronger and more resolute, but when her moment finally arrived, typhoid in the 2000 tournament knocked her out. She made up for it, though, by guiding India to the 2005 edition’s finals, which continues to be the team’s best finish in the major competition to date. While the cup has proven elusive, Raj has amassed some impressive stats, including numerous firsts, to cement her position as the face of women’s sport.
Raj’s career graph experienced an unusual rise in the game’s shortest format after being forced to start in T20Is by former colleague and later coach Purnima Rau. Since then, she has developed into as crucial to India’s middle order in 50-over cricket as she is to the opening position.
After Charlotte Edwards, Raj has played in more ODIs than any other player. In the 29th over of India’s World Cup match against Australia, Raj punched Ellyse Perry for a single, surpassing Edwards’ previous record of 5992. She also reached 6000 runs for the first time in women’s cricket history during the same game. Raj is just the third female player in history to captain her nation in more than 100 ODIs. Her total of 49 half-centuries in the 50-over format, along with her streak of seven consecutive ones, both set records.
Raj is the most reliable person I know. With a lifetime average of over 51, she has outperformed some of the most famous players on the men’s circuit, let alone the women’s. It wouldn’t be shocking if she went on to become the first woman to 200 caps as she was in the best shape of her life even at the age of 34.
Most Cricket World Cup matches captained
In the 2022 edition, she skippered in 28 matches, breaking Belinda Clark’s previous record for most matches captained in an ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
Asia Cup record
India won the Asia Cup four times under Raj’s direction: in 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008, when they overcame Sri Lanka in the championship game, and in 2012, when they triumphed over Pakistan.
In 2014, Raj made history when she helped India defeat England to win their first Test series. Raj led the squad to victory in England by scoring an undefeated 50 in the second innings.
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