Former India captain Mithali Raj announced retirement from all forms of international cricket earlier this week at the age of 39. Raj embarked on her 23-year long cricket career at the age of 16 in 1999 and went on to become one of India's greatest female batters. She scored an unbeaten 114 on ODI debut and went on to establish herself as the backbone of India's batting. Her technical soundness was what made her a quality batter. In October 2019, at the age of 36, Raj became the first woman to complete two decades in ODI cricket. A recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri award, Raj, along with bowler Jhulan Goswami, has been the face of women’s cricket in India for several years.
Key stats from Mithali Raj’s career
Mithali has scored the most runs by any female cricketer across all three formats. 10,868 She ended her glorious journey with 10,868 runs in ODIs, T20Is and Tests combined.
At the time of retirement, she also tops the list of female cricketers with most matches. In all she featured in 333 matches, including 232 ODI matches. Her ODI career spanned longer than that of any other cricketer – both male and female. She played the 50-over format for 22 years and 274.
She is the highest run-getter in women’s ODIs and is far ahead of the second-highest run-scorer. Mithali scored 7805 runs, while Charlotte Edwards, who retired in 2016, scored 5992 runs.
No female cricketer has played as many World Cups as Mithali did (6). And in men’s cricket too, only two players featured in more than five World Cups – Javed Miandad and Sachin Tendulkar.
She also holds the record for most consecutive 50-plus scores in women's ODIs. She scored seven half centuries on a trot in 2017.
Talking about her captaincy, Raj led India in 155 ODI games. No other captain in women’s cricket has led her side in these many games. She is also the highest run-scorer in ODIs among all captains (5319). In all formats combined, Raj scored 6546 runs as captain, the second-most behind Edwards’ 6728.
Another big record under Raj’s name is a double century in women’s cricket. She is the only Indian female cricketer to score a double hundred in any format, a feat she achieved in 2002 against England in Taunton in a Test match. What makes the feat even more special is that it came away from home.
Mithali Raj’s best knock in each format
In all, Mithali played 12 Tests, 232 ODIs and 89 T20Is from 1999 to 2022. Let’s take a look at her best knock from each of the three formats.
Tests – The double century against England in Taunton in 2002 stands out as Raj’s best knock in Tests, and nearly two decades later, it is still the only double century scored by an Indian women cricketer in women’s cricket. The 214 was also the highest score in women’s cricket at that time.
ODIs – Mithali is the leading run-scorer in women’s ODIs and has played several good knocks in the format. But the most special knock will be the one she made on her debut as a 16-year-old. She became the youngest centurion in women's internationals on debut, a record which was broken in 2021 by Ireland's Amy Hunter.
T20Is – Mithali retired from T20 internationals in September 2019. The most memorable of all her T20I knocks came against South Africa in 2018, which guided India to a nine-wicket win. Chasing 143 runs to win, Mithali contributed with an unbeaten 76 off 61 balls.