Mithali Raj announced her retirement from international cricket today, posting the news on her Twitter handle. The legendary India captain and batter steps down from career that has spanned over two decades, and she retires as as one of the greats of world cricket.
“Thank you for all your love & support over the years! I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support,” she tweeted. “I feel now is the perfect time to call curtains on my playing career as the team is in the capable hands of some very talented young players and the future of Indian Cricket is bright.”
Raj was nothing short of a wunderkind. In her debut in 1999 at the age of sixteen, she stunned the cricket world with a blistering maiden century against Ireland. Her unbeaten 114 made her the youngest ever cricketer to slam an international century. She retires as the leading run-scorer in women’s cricket, with 10,868 runs from 333 appearances for India across formats.
Raj’s ODI career remains unparallalled in the women’s game. In 23 years she has accumulated 7805 runs from 232 matches, and averages 50. She is also India’s leading run-getter in T20Is. Raj remains the only player in the history of cricket to lead her side to two World Cup finals, the first against Australia in 2005 and a narrow miss in 2017 when England triumphed instead. She has only played 12 Tests, but her 214 remains the only Test double-century by an Indian in women’s Tests. Raj is also the first batter to score seven fifties in a row in women’s ODIs.
Raj’s retirement means that the ODI against South Africa during the World Cup marked her final international appearance for India. She scored 68 off 84 balls, but a heartbreaking last over saw India knocked out without qualifying for the playoffs.
Tributes and feliciations came pouring in from across the world on Twitter the moment she announced the news.
Your contribution to Indian Cricket has been phenomenal. Congratulations @M_Raj03 on an amazing career. You leave behind a rich legacy.
We wish you all the very best for your second innings 🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/0R66EcM0gT
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 8, 2022
A wonderful career comes to an end! Thank you @M_Raj03 for your immense contribution to Indian cricket. Your leadership on the field has brought much glory to the National women's team. Congratulations for an illustrious innings on the field and best wishes for your next innings!
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) June 8, 2022
Even though you know this day is coming, you can’t help but feel a little sad 😔. An amazing player that put cricket on the map especially in 🇮🇳 Loved playing against you & enjoyed watching you adapt your game to keep up with all these youngsters. Enjoy the next phase Mithali xx https://t.co/QIK9nE1Vdo
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) June 8, 2022
In India, the name Mithali Raj has been synonymous to women's cricket. You have been an inspiration to millions all over the world. My best wishes to you for your future endeavours @M_Raj03. 😊 pic.twitter.com/kchguzAB8E
— DK (@DineshKarthik) June 8, 2022
Towards the end of her career, Mithali had been in form longer than some of her teammates had been alive 🙂 That's how long she served Indian cricket. Congratulations and thank you @M_Raj03. Good luck for your second innings 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/dQYTP8fMxd
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) June 8, 2022
Mithali Raj was a lot of things, but first she was a batter.
Women were often taught cricket in the most technically correct way, even as male cricketers had long since moved on from picture perfect techniques. And Mithali was really the MCC Coaching manual in human form.
— Jarrod Kimber (@ajarrodkimber) June 8, 2022