Mithali Raj retires from T20I cricket with immediate effect
Former Indian women's team skipper, Mithali Raj has announced her retirement from T20 internationals with immediate effect. The 36-year-old bids adieu to the shortest format of the game after representing the country on 89 occasions. She will, however, continue to play ODIs and Tests with the aim of winning the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand.
Mithali retires from T20 internationals as the 6th highest run-scorer in the women's game (2,364) and with the highest career average (37.52) of any woman to have batted more than 20 times in the format. Only Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, Charlotte Edwards, Meg Lanning and Deandra Dottin are ahead of her in the run-scoring charts.
The former captain led India in 32 T20Is including three Women’s WT20 World Cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka), 2014 (Bangladesh) and 2016 (India). She was also the captain when the Indian eves played their first T20I in Derby, back in 2006.
In her statement, Mithali said that she took this decision in order to concentrate her efforts on the 2021 ICC World Cup in New Zealand.
“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. 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,” said Mithali Raj.
Even though Mithali had made herself available for the upcoming home series against South Africa, the decision to retire doesn't come across as a major surprise given the fact that the stalwart has been out of favour with the team management ever since the 2018 ICC Women's World T20 in the West Indies, where she was not picked for the semi-final against England. India went on to lose the match and that episode marred an otherwise brilliant campaign for the Indian team.
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