Indian Women’s Cricket Team skipper Mithali Raj has hinted that she has another “year or two” before calling time on her international career.
The veteran batswoman, who made her international debut in 1999 and will turn 36 next month, said she is working extremely hard on her fitness and trying to play as many games to the best of her ability.
At the moment, Raj is playing in the ICC Women’s World T20, where she is in top form, as the right-hander adjudged the player of the match for her brilliant half-century against Pakistan on Sunday.
Raj told Mid-Day, “A sportsperson's career is quite short as compared to say, a lawyer or a doctor, so I am just trying to play as many games to the best of my ability. When you represent your country, you cannot forego even one percent of your commitment towards working hard. I believe I have another year or two before I can hang my boots. I am working extremely hard on my fitness too.”
Raj, who has now become one of the biggest international stars in women's cricket world, is happy to see the growth of the women’s game and pleased with the ever-rising profile of the women’s game.
She recalled, “There was no international tour for two years when I made my India debut in 1999. The likes of Jemimah Rodrigues or Pooja Vastrakar… they have 20 games under their belt. I never had that kind of exposure. If I have to compare a 16-year-old Mithali with the current lot, they would be far ahead in terms of the way they prepare and their professional approach.”
The skipper, who is also known for her keen interest in dance, revealed that her father forced her to take up the sport as a profession.
Raj signed off by saying, “Initially, I was into dance and learned Bharatanatyam for eight years. Cricket happened because of my father (Dorai Raj). I love sleeping and to inculcate the habit of early rising, my dad forced me to take up a sport. That was the only reason I started playing cricket in the first place.”
(With Mid-Day Inputs)