Indian captain Mithali Raj created a world record by becoming the first player to cross 6000 runs in the history of women’s ODI during the ICC World Cup match against Australia. The Indian team now have two current world record holders with pacer Jhulan Goswami being the leading wicket-taker in 50-over cricket.
Against Australia, Mithali surpassed former England captain Charlotte Edwards’s 5992 runs when she reached 34, thereby becoming the highest scorer in ODIs. Mithali has scored 6028 runs from 183 games in her career. She is by far the greatest ever woman cricketer to have emerged from India. Like Sachin Tendulkar she has been playing for more years and an inspiration for a generation of women in international cricket for her consistency and longevity. The Hyderabad girl and Julan Goswami are the only two surviving players in the squad of 15, who have made their debut before the 2003 World Cup. Though India lost to Australia but if the Indian team wins the title it will be a greatest achievement. Presently Mithali Raj is ruling the roost in International cricket and it is good sign for Indian cricket.
This is after Shantha Rangaswamy and Diana Eduljee making break in women’s cricket as bats woman and a bowler in the past. Indian women’s cricket is coming under BCCI and we can expect more laurels coming in their way in the days to come. When Mithali scored that magical 87 runs it will be the first time two Indians, men or women to hold top positions in batting and bowling Test or ODIs. A rare double can do a world of good for Women’s cricket which came to flourish after 1980s and now is in the top gear and a hot favourite to win the World cup also with so many experienced and record breaking players at our disposal. This is a dream come true position and we hope Mithali Raj and company will encash it to our advantage and keep the Indian flag flying at the International level.
In the recent past, we heard about the exploits about Men’s cricket team winning matches at home and abroad after Virat Kohli took over reins of captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Now it is time for the women’s cricket team to turn the tables and bring the World cup for the first time.
Women’s World cup tournament is a boon, unless the opposition is from Australia or England, which can upset Team India. Otherwise, Mithali Raj’s team is the sure winner. The new format helped the home side on a personal high winning three out of three in 50 over format. Team skipper Mithali Raj’s performance with the bat made it a high point in her career with a significant contribution and saw the team sail past a strong English side.
As a cricket player, I had a strange experience of facing two women bowlers in a league game on 1st January 1980. I did face them with speculation and helped our side to draw the game and get one valuable point for our team in Chennai, then Madras. The women bowlers were bowling in tandem during the mandatory overs shinning the ball in their pants and I was confidence personified to defend them with grit and determination to hold on till the end.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)