India Women’s team skipper Mithali Raj on Wednesday became the first ever woman cricket player to complete 20 years in international cricket. She achieved the major milestone when she stepped on the field for the first ODI between India Women and South Africa Women at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.
Raj made her international debut against Ireland on June 26, 1999 and this day became even more special as India Women registered a comprehensive victory over South Africa Women by eight wickets. She remained unbeaten on 11 to take India over the line.
The 36-year-old has played a total of 204 ODIs, 10 Tests and 89 T20Is during her two decade long international career for India. In fact, no other woman cricketer has played more ODI matches than Raj. England’s Charlotte Edwards, India’s Jhulan Goswami and Australia’s Alex Blackwell are next in the list with 191, 178 and 144 matches to their names respectively.
Raj had also announced her retirement from T20Is last month to focus entirely on the upcoming 50-over Women’s World Cup in 2021.
“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,” Mithali Raj had said in a statement released by the BCCI.
Mithali Raj becomes the first woman to have an ODI career for over 20 years.
Longest ODI careers: (Men/Women)
22y 91d – Tendulkar (Dec 89 – Mar 12)
21y 184d – Jayasuriya (Dec 89 – Jun 11)
20y 272d – Miandad (Jun 75 – Mar 96)
20y 105d* – MITHALI (Jun 1999 – Present) pic.twitter.com/p6E5bfB8zI
— Chintan Buch (@chintanjbuch) October 9, 2019
As far as the overall record (both men and women) for longest international careers in cricket history is concerned, Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the longest duration- 22 years and 91 days. Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (21 years and 184 days) and Javed Miandad (20 years and 272 days) of Pakistan are next in the list with Raj coming fourth in the list after them.
Written by: Prasenjit Dey