Mithali Raj – Presence of girls in cricket was negligible

Mithali was born in Jodhpur city of Rajasthan. Father Durai Raj was an officer in the Air Force. Mother Leela Raj was from a modern Tamil family. From the very beginning, he gave the best atmosphere of education to the daughter at home. She wanted her daughter to be educated and literate. From the age of eight, Mithali started learning Bharatanatyam. Mother was very happy to see his passion. She would try her best to ensure that the daughter did not face any problem due to dance. On the other hand, his father was interested in cricket. He wanted to make his son a cricketer. So decided to get son’s training in cricket.

Being in the Airforce, the father loved discipline. The daughter woke up early in the morning, so he started taking her along with the son to the cricket stadium. Initially, Mithali used to get tired in getting up in the morning, but soon she started enjoying cricket. After a few days, she herself would get up early in the morning and get ready with her brother and would take hold of father’s finger and walk. Gradually, the trend towards cricket started growing as the brother played. Many times she insisted she would grab the brother’s bat and ask him to throw the ball. In the manner in which she would hold the bat and score runs, everyone would be surprised. One day the cricket coach told the father that your daughter plays very well. If given training, it can become a great cricketer.

However in those days the presence of girls in cricket was negligible. Parents usually thought of making their daughters as officers or teachers. It was a new thing for girls to make a career in sports like cricket. But both his parents were of modern views. Therefore, there was no particular problem in this case. Mithali started training at the age of ten. The mother quit her job to make the daughter a cricketer. She used to stay with Mithali the whole time while training. She took care of the daughter’s catering and workouts at home. Papa also started cutting his expenses to meet the expenses of cricket. They both wanted to make Mithali a successful cricketer. Mitali says, Initially I chose cricket because my parents wanted it. I always wanted to do something that would make them happy. I know how much they have sacrificed for my career. Looking back today, it seems that his decision to make me a cricketer was absolutely correct.

Here, due to cricket training, Mithali started lagging in dance, often missed the dance class. One day the dance teacher got angry. He clearly said, you have to choose one of dance and cricket. Mithali became emotional. The election was tough, but the decision had to be taken. Finally chose cricket and gave up dance. At the age of just 17, Mithali joined the Indian team. In 1999, she made her international debut for the first time. He was established as an all-rounder with excellent batting, bowling and fielding. He holds many records in the domestic and outdoor grounds. She is the female cricketer who scored a double century in a Test match. She was just 19 years old when she set the record.

In 2003, he was awarded the Arjuna Award. Seeing her ability, she was made the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team. In 2005, he took up this responsibility. Obviously, if the post was big, then the challenge was also big. Mithali says, when I was selected as the captain of the team, I was very happy, but I was nervous. At that time there were many senior players in the team, he was hesitant to lead them. But soon this reluctance came to an end and I took that responsibility with full confidence. It is not that this success and fame were easily found. He certainly got full support from the family, but there were many challenges in the cricket field. The biggest thing was that the importance of male cricket has always been given in the country. There were also many shortcomings regarding facilities and training. Her leadership was part of the Indian team’s participation in the 2005 Women’s World Cup, but the team’s performance was disappointing.

Apparently, he faced criticism. But Mithali faced a tough time and did not let the team lose its strength. In cricket, nothing is certain in cricket. Sometimes you score a hundred, and sometimes you are out on zero. Cricketers should be prepared for such challenges. Recently, Mithali was awarded the Padma Shri. Mithali says, when I was told about it, I couldn’t believe it. Many male cricketers were contenders for this award. The buzz was that Virat Kohli might get this award. I did not expect this at all.

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