After 23 illustrious years of international cricket, Indian women’s ODI captain Mithali Raj announced on Saturday that the 2022 50-over World Cup in New Zealand would be her “swansong.” Mithali Raj stated that this does not mean she will retire from ODI cricket after the World Cup in March of next year.
“It’s been 21 years of international cricket and I know 2022 is my swansong, the World Cup. The last year was equal to the 20 years of my international cricket. Hopefully, I will be playing in my sixth World Cup if the situation improves by then after the second wave of the coronavirus. But, I will be looking to take a final decision on continuing at the international level after a home series next year,” Mithali Raj told Sportstar.
Mithali Raj made her ODI debut against Ireland in 1999, scoring a magnificent century. In 50-over cricket, she has represented India 214 times, scoring 7 centuries and 55 half-centuries in the process. She is the first batswoman in the history of ODI cricket to score over 7,000 runs. She has a remarkable average of 51.06 and has been dismissed for a duck just 6 times in her career.
She also discussed the value of fitness, especially at a time when the women’s team isn’t having many opportunities to play, and how she had to stay focused during the Covid-19 time, which moved the World Cup one year forward.
“I know we are in difficult times but it takes a lot out of me to keep working on my fitness. I am not getting any younger and I know the importance of fitness. It is important to be in a good emotional and mental set-up, knowing that there will be very few tours before the World Cup,” added Mithali Raj.
Winning the world cup will be the biggest achievement: Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj holds several noteworthy records, but she has never been a member of a World Cup-winning team. As a result, a World Cup victory for the Indian Women’s team in New Zealand could be the greatest gift Mithali could get. She also believes that not winning the World Cup has been her biggest regret.
“Yes, I am desperate to be part of a World Cup-winning team. Otherwise, it has been an immensely satisfying career for me and I take pride in my consistency, longevity at the highest level,” stated Mithali Raj.
The Indian women’s team will play four bilateral series, including away tours to England, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as a home series against the West Indies.