Former India limited overs skipper Mithali Raj on Tuesday called time on her illustrious T20 International career to focus on one-day cricket, keeping 2021 50-over World Cup in mind. The 36-year-old senior opener has captained the country in 32 T20Is, including the three women’s WT20 World Cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka), 2014 (Bangladesh) and 2016 (India). “After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 One Day World Cup,” said Mithali, who had captained Indian women’s first-ever T20I played in Derby back in 2006.
Mithali ended her T20I career as India’s top-scorer in the format with 2364 runs from 89 matches at an average of 37.5 and a highest score of 97 not out. She made her T20I debut in 1999 and played her last match in March against England in Guwahati. Mithali is also the first Indian woman to reach the landmark of 2000 T20I runs. “It remains my dream to win a World Cup for my country and I want to give it my best. I thank the BCCI for their continuous support and wish the Indian T20 team good luck as they prepare for the home series against South Africa Women,” she said in a BCCI press release.
Mithali has also played in 203 ODIs and scored 6720 runs at an average of 51.29 with seven hundreds. She has also played in 10 Tests with 663 runs and one hundred. She was also the captain in India women’s first-ever T20I played in Derby back in 2006. Since that win against England, Raj played another 88 games in which she scored 2364 runs, the most by an Indian woman in T20Is. Though her announcement came as a surprise, considering that she last week made herself available for the home series against South Africa, beginning 24 September, congratulatory messages also poured in on the social media with former players Australian Lisa Sthalekar and former India international Anjum Chopra praising the veteran batswoman for her immense contribution to the game. Let’s wish her all success in World Cup.