Mithali Raj is the first name that comes to our mind when we think about women's cricket. She is a great servant of Indian cricket with her career spanning up to 22 years, the highest for any Indian cricketer across genders. She is the reason why maximum Indians started watching women's cricket.
Author:- Ashwin Jangam (Cricket Analyst, host, poet, entertainer)
Insta I'd:- cricket_creativity
She was one of the first cricketers whom girls looked up to take the sport. Continuing her habit of being the first one to set benchmarks, she became the first women cricketer to be awarded the highest sporting award of the country, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award.
The highest run-getter in international women's cricket was awarded the highest sporting award of India for her immense contribution to the game. Earlier, a few players were awarded the Arjuna award and a few other awards, but it was the first instance of awarding the utmost sporting title to a woman cricketer. It is a great achievement not just for her, but also for the entire cricketing fraternity and the good wishers of the female cricket who wish women's cricket to excel even further.
The stalwart of Indian cricket showed glimpses of the talent she had right on her debut when she scored a hundred on her debut, becoming the youngest centurion in the history of the game at the age of 16 years 205 days, a record which was unbeaten till October 2021. Since then, she broke and created new records in women's cricket. She, along with was Jhulan Goswami was one of the major reasons why the Indian team could reach the finals of the ICC world cup for the first time. This was the event that brought women's cricket in limelight and Mithali has a lion's share in making it happen.
Her exquisite timing is the key to her sensational batting. When in full flow, she is a treat to watch and is a threat to any deadly bowling attack in the world. Her technique, blended with experience is capable to tackle any situation arising in the match. She knows how to anchor the innings from one end and she has done it on plenty of occasions even when wickets are falling at the other end. In addition to this, her calmness brings the best out of her and also amuses everyone. The cricketing world was left in awe seeing her padded up, reading a book knowing that if a wicket falls, she has to be on the crease. Looking at this point, everyone wondered ice was cooler or it was Mithali's personality.
With so much to offer for the game, Mithali ruled world cricket for years. If one spoke about her achievements, a week wouldn't be sufficient to completely speak about all her achievements. But the most important achievement she says is to open doors for many women to take up the sport. She has inspired a generation of upcoming stars who would later go on to serve the Indian cricket team. Inspired by Mithali, many young girls started playing the game which was thought to be a man's game-breaking all the stereotypes.
She became a symbol of women empowerment. The fire she illuminated in the minds of girls spread like a wildfire as girls from smaller towns started to follow the game and be a part of it. And now with the highest sporting award conferred to her, she will continue to illuminate to minds of people who would love to see their daughters be like Mithali.
While on one hand, the entire country is crazy for the Indian men's team, which has reached all its glory, only a few percentages of people prefer to watch the matches of Women in Blue. But the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award (a first-time award named after a sportsperson) being awarded to Mithali, would help the Indians watch the Women in Blue dominate the opposition, bringing women's cricket days of glory. It is a sight, which every supporter of women's cricket like me would love to witness, and whenever it will happen, Mithali Raj would be the first reason behind it. With all my heart and soul, on behalf of Team Stay Featured we would like to congratulate The Queen of Cricket- Mithali Raj for her award and would hope to get inspired even more and more from the star.