What’s the story?
Responding to a journalist who compared Mithali Raj to Sachin Tendulkar after the former became the leading run-scorer in women’s ODI cricket, Sunil Gavaskar promptly suggested that the two shouldn’t be weighed against each other.
“Raj is an inspiration and has carved a niche for herself. She is standing at the top of a mountain and we should celebrate that,” said Gavaskar to NDTV. The former India captain believes that Raj has been exceptional throughout her career and deserves to stand on her own pedestal rather than being associated with a male cricketer.
Raj recently overtook England’s Charlotte Edwards as the leading run-scorer in women’s ODIs during India’s match against Australia in the ongoing Women’s World Cup. The Indian skipper now has 6028 runs to her name, ahead of the now-retired Edwards’ tally of 5992.
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With her 71* against Pakistan in the opening game of the tournament, Raj smashed seven consecutive half-centuries in ODI cricket. Her batting average in the format stands at an impressive 51.81, while she has scored five centuries and 49 half-centuries in her career.
Raj has been a consistent performer for the country for almost two decades now, and has done so with minimum fuss and fanfare.
While Edwards took 181 innings to score 5992 ODI runs, Raj crossed the 6,000 mark in just 162. The 34-year-old made her debut for India at the age of 16 and scored a century in her first match. She still holds the record for the youngest female cricketer to have scored an ODI century.
In the current World Cup, which might very well be her last, the batswoman would hope to take her team through to a historic and unprecedented triumph.
The Indian team started the tournament with real vigour, and won their first four matches on the trot. However, they have now lost two matches by huge margins: one against South Africa, and one against Australia.
India’s next game against New Zealand will be a clash between two teams in the middle of the points table.
The former Indian captain Gavaskar is right on the money with his statement. Raj is a superstar in her own right, and has taken women’s cricket to a higher level almost every time she has come out to bat for the national side. Her name is a brand in itself, and carries enough weight on its own.Published 13 Jul 2017, 15:07 IST