Mithali Dorai Raj is an Indian cricketer and Test, ODI Captain of women’s national cricket team. She is a right-handed opening Batswoman and occasional right-arm leg break bowler. She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 7,000-run mark in Women’s One Day International matches.

She is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. In June 2018 during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2002 WT20I runs.

Early Life

Mithali raj was born on 3rd December 1982 in a Tamil family in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Her father is Dorai Raj, who was an Airman (Warrant Officer) in the Indian Air Force, and mother is Leela Raj. Raj started to play the game at age of 10. She lived in Hyderabad, Telangana. Mithali attended Keyes High School for Girls in Secunderabad. She went to Kasturba Junior College for further studies. She started training for cricket during her school days.

Mithali was picked up for the Indian Team when she was 17. Two years later, at the age of 19, she arose as one of the most promising and talented batsmen when she scored a whopping 214 against the England team in the final test held in Taunton. That was just the start for the budding star. There was no look back for Mithali ever since. Popularly also known as “Lady Sachin” due to her commendable performance, she is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket.

Career overview

Rising through the ranks, Mithali Raj made her way to both the Test as well as the One Day International cricket for India’s women’s cricket team. Moreover, she was even speculated to be included in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup at the age of 14, owing to her immense talent. However, she failed to make the final cut.

Nonetheless, Raj did make her One Day International debut two years later in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes. What was the most impressive thing about the debut was the fact that Raj scored an unbeaten 114 runs. The Test debut soon followed in the 2001–02 season against South Africa at India. There was no looking back after that.

On 17 August that season, Raj broke the world record of scoring the highest individual score in the women’s Test. The then 19-year-old, playing in her third Test, she scored a massive 214 against England, thus breaking Karen Rolton’s record of scoring the world’s highest individual Test score of 209*.
The record stood was broken two years later by Pakistan’s Kiran Baluch, who hit 242 against West Indies in March 2004.

2005 World Cup success

The 2005 World Cup was going to be a highly anticipated contest, with the competition making a return after 5 long years. Having seen the first encounter being called off due to heavy rains, the Indian team went on to win the next three matches. Although the Women in Blue lost the encounter against New Zealand, they still managed to end at second place in the eight-team table.

Waiting in the semi-finals for the team were familiar foes in New Zealand. The Indian team needed a solid start in the first innings, having asked to bat first. It was in this time that Mithali Raj rose to the occasion.
A real athlete’s qualities are highlighted when he/she performs in a not-so-encouraging atmosphere, and Mithali Raj just did that. Having seen her team decimate to 127-4, the blazing batsman scored an unbeaten 91* to help India reach a defendable total of 204. They then bowled out the Kiwis for a measly 164 runs to win by 40 runs. Had it not been for Raj’s heroics, the story could have been something else.
However, in the finals against table-toppers, Australia, India’s batting again faltered, wrapping up for only 117 while chasing 215.

Milestones

1) During the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Raj scored her seventh consecutive half-century and made a record for most consecutive fifties by a player.[42][43]
2) Mithali is the 1st Indian and 5th woman cricketer overall to score over 1,000 World Cup runs.[44]
3) She holds the record for playing the most consecutive Women’s One Day Internationals for a team (109)
4) Mithali is nicknamed “Lady Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket”, as she is currently the all-time leading run-scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
5) In the following year in August, Mithali Raj guided India to their maiden Test series victory over England, in England. Under her leadership, the country then managed to clinch the 2006 Asia Cup. India repeated the feat the second time in 12 months – without dropping out of a single game.
6) Then in May 2008, she led India to their 4th successive Asia Cup title. Moreover, Raj also crossed the 3000-run landmark on the way.

Awards
1) Mithali raj was awarded with prestigious arjuna award in 2003 by the government of India for her outstanding achievements in sports.
2) Mithali raj was also awarded with Padma Sri, the fourth highest civilian ward in the republic of India in the year 2015.

A right-handed batsman, Mithali Raj has emerged as one of the best batting exports from the country – Not only in terms of technique but also inconsistency. She has emerged arguably India’s most dependable bats. What makes her so lethal is her composure and patience when playing at the crease. She has the capability to score runs in brisk fashion, making her a dangerous batsman.

Moreover, Raj can build partnerships or hit quick-fire innings when the team needs her. Her ever-present form has seen her score heavily both in the one-dayers as well as the Tests. Apart from her ability with the bat, Raj can also chip in a few arms over bowling leg-spinners, providing depth to any attack. She does it all by still effectively captaining the side. In fact, Mithali Raj she holds the unique record of captaining the most matches for India in both WODI and T20I.

After the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures acquired the rights to make a feature film on Raj’s life. She said “Hoping that this movie inspires more people, especially young girls to take up sports as a career.”

The biopic is in planning and the shoot is scheduled to start in 2019. Raj said “I think Priyanka Chopra will be a great choice (to play me in the biopic). Our personalities match a lot. I am not a movie buff, so I’d love the experts to do their job.” However, finally it was decided that Taapsee Pannu will play the role of Mithali Raj in the biopic named as Shabaash Mithu. It will be directed by Rahul Dholakia in 2021.