Bristol, June 26 (IANS) When Indian women’s team captain Mithali Raj takes the pitch here on Sunday, she will be the only cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to play 22 years of One-day International (ODI) cricket.
Tendulkar played for 22 years and 91 days, while Mithali would have just spent a day over 22 years when she went out for the throw against England captain Heather Knight on Sunday. The 38-year-old made his debut on June 26, 1999 in Milton Keynes against Ireland. She was only 16 then.
Over the course of 22 years, she has scored 7,098 races with seven centuries and 55 half-centuries in 214 female ODIs. The Jodhpur-born player is the only one in women’s cricket to score over 6,000 ODI races. She has also scored 2364 T20 International races.
“It feels great to come up with messages congratulating me on my career,” Mithali said during a press conference on the eve of the first ODI against England.
“If I have to give a message to a 16-year-old, I would say to enjoy getting on the ground, representing your country for the first time, which was clear at the time … the expectation was so heavy on my shoulders that I did not ‘t get the opportunity to understand the importance of wearing the blue jersey and playing for the country, that’s something I want to say to the 16-year-old Mithali, ”she added.
In its ODI debut 22 years ago, Mithali created an undefeated 114 and shared a 258-powered first-wicket partnership with co-founder Reshma Gandhi, who also broke a century – 104 not out. India won this match by 10 wickets.
Since then, Mithali has gone from strength to strength.
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