Mithali Raj is officially the first woman to have the longest career in International cricket. The former Indian skipper completed 20 years as a cricketer as she stepped on the field during the first ODI of the three-match series between India and South Africa at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara on Wednesday.
Mithali started her career in the sport in 1999, when she made her ODI debut against Ireland on June 26. Officially, Mithali has completed 20 years and 105 days of her career in the 50-over format. In fact, she is the only female cricketer to have played ODI cricket for over 20 years.
The 36-year-old cricketer is an all-round star. She holds the record for playing the maximum number of ODIs in women’s cricket. Till date, she has played a total of 204 ODIs. She is followed by England’s Charlotte Edwards (191), India's Jhulan Goswami (178) and Alex Blackwell (144) of Australia. The right-handed batter has also represented India in 10 Tests and 89 T20Is. Phew, she certainly has a long list of achievements, doesn't she?
Much to her fans' dismay, Mithali officially retired from T20I cricket last month. Reportedly, Mithali has been having some disagreements with the team management regarding the change in the team's coach, but she still played against South Africa last week. She spoke to a leading daily about retiring from T20I and said, "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."
She added, "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."
Another person to have the longest career in the sport is none other than Sachin Tendulkar-- 22 years and 91 days. He is followed by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (21 years and 184 days), and Javed Miandad (20 years and 272 days) of Pakistan. Mithali has earned herself the sweet fourth spot, and we hope her career breaks more records in the future!
Congratulations, Mithali--India is proud of you!
Featured Image: Instagram
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