At 38, her hunger for runs continues to be insatiable. Of what started as a trickle in 1999 when she made her international debut, the steady bursts of runs continue to flow with more zest. Indian captain D Mithali Raj, who needed 36 runs on Friday, reached yet another milestone when she got her 10,000 runs in international cricket by flicking South Africa’s Anne Bosch to the boundary to make history in the third one-day international at Vajpayee Stadium in Lucknow.
“It is always nice to be consistent. It definitely helps your confidence. If you have fluctuation in your game then you will lose your confidence. Confidence is a big factor in a player’s success. I think technique is important. It is a foundation to a player’s game. If you have a sound technique then you can adapt to any format of the game. If you look at Sachin, he plays good strokes. He gets runs because he is very good in technique. I work hard on my batting in the nets,” said Mithali during one of her interviews.
England’s Charlotte Edwards is the first women cricketer to score 10,000 runs. Mithali Raj has so far played 10 Tests, 212 one-day internationals and 89 T20 internationals. She has played in five World Cups
As a young kid, Mithali used to accompany her brother to St John’s Academy in Marredepally in Secunderabad before former Hyderabad pacer bowler P Jyothi Prasad lured her to play cricket and she never looked back as she scaled new heights. Under father Dorai Raj and coach late Sampath Kumar, Mithali went through the grind fine-tuning her batting skills before bursting into the international scene with a flourish. She bravely crossed many milestones, so much so that she was called the Sachin Tendulkar of women’s cricket.
Coach RSR Murthy feels even at 38, Mithali continues to work hard for perfection. “She never misses a net session. She is a disciplined cricketer. She works for hours at the nets, be it in fitness or on improving her batting skills. Her dedication and love for the game is unique,’’ he said.
Former Indian captain and coach Purnima Rau described Mithali as phenomenal. “At this age, her passion and work ethics are unbelievable. She has God’s gift and plays the ball very late. She has put Indian women’s cricket to a new high,’’ she said.