Mithali Dorai Raj
December 03, 1982, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Right hand bat
Top order batter
India's greatest female batter, Mithali Raj, has reached milestones aplenty in her storied international career spanning more than two decades. The woman with most runs in the game, and the only Indian captain - male or female - to have led the side to two 50-over World Cup finals, the only major distinction that eludes the incumbent ODI captain is the tag of a World Cup winner. In pursuit of that dream, Raj bowed out of T20Is in September 2019, as India's highest run-scorer, having last led the side in the format during the 2016 T20 World Cup at home.
At 16, Raj scored an unbeaten 114 on ODI debut and soon established herself as the lynchpin of India's batting. The roots of her copybook stroke play lay in her precocious talent that blossomed under the tutelage of her former coach, the late Sampath Kumar, and a regimented upbringing in an army family. With a passion for Bharatanatyam, her nifty footwork found expression on the field, becoming as much a hallmark of her batting as have been grace and an unrivalled precision at plundering runs in the cover region.
Her technical soundness and ability to anchor an innings at the top of the order in all three formats have inspired two generations of India batsmen. Both those skills underpinned her highest Test score of 214, in 2002, and later an unbeaten 91 in the 2005 ODI World Cup semi-final, a knock she rates at par with her double-century.
During the 2017 ODI World Cup, Raj surpassed former England captain Charlotte Edwards to become the highest run-scorer in ODIs and the first woman to 6000 runs in the format. Her 409-run tally in the tournament was second only to England opener Tammy Beaumont's, while her three fifties and a century were vital to India's runners-up finish.
In the 2018 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean, Raj found herself embroiled in a controversy in the wake of her omission from the semi-final. She accused then head coach Ramesh Powar of unfair and discriminatory behaviour and expressed her disappointment over T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur's decision to support her exclusion.
In October 2019, Raj, at 36, became the first woman to complete two decades in ODI cricket. Annesha Ghosh
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