Mithali Dorai Raj (born 3 December 1982) is an Indian cricketer and the captain of the Indian women’s national cricket team in Tests and ODIs. Often regarded as one of the greatest batswomen to have ever played the game, she is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in WODIs. She is the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs. Raj also holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs. In June 2018 during the 2018 Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India (either male or female) to score 2000 runs in T20Is, and also became the first woman cricketer to reach 2002 WT20I runs.
Raj is the only player (male or female) to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017. On 1 February 2019, during India’s series against New Zealand Women, Raj became the first woman to play in 200 ODI matches.
Mithali Raj was born in Tamil family Jodhpur, Rajasthan on 3 December 1982. Her father is Dorai Raj, who was an Airman (Warrant Officer) in the Indian Air Force, and mother is Leela Raj. Raj started to play the game at age of 10 and at the age of 17, she was picked for the Indian team. She lives in Hyderabad, Telangana. She attended Keyes High School for Girls in Secunderabad. She attended Kasturba Gandhi Junior College for Women in West Marredpally (Secunderabad) for her intermediate studies. She started cricket coaching in her school days along with her elder brother. She practised at school, often playing with male cricketers in the nets.
Raj has played both Test and One Day International cricket for India’s women’s cricket team. She was named among the probables in the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup when she was just 14, but couldn’t make it to the final squad. She made her One Day International debut in 1999 against Ireland at Milton Keynes and scored unbeaten 114 runs. She made her Test debut in the 2001-02 season against South Africa at Lucknow. On 17 August 2002, at the age of 19, in her third Test, she broke Karen Rolton‘s record of world’s highest individual Test score of 209*, scoring a new high of 214 against England in the second and final Test at County Ground, Taunton. The record has since been surpassed by Kiran Baluch of Pakistan who scored 242 against West Indies in March 2004.
Raj was ill with a strain of typhoid during the CricInfo Women’s World Cup in 2002, seriously hampering India’s progress. However, she then led them to their first World Cup final in 2005, in South Africa, where they met Australia who proved too strong.
In August 2006, she led the side to their first ever Test and Series victory in England and wrapped up the year winning the Asia Cup – the second time in 12 months – without dropping a single game.
She led the Indian team to the finals in the 2005 Women’s Cricket World Cup where the team lost to Australia. She is a part-time leg-break bowler as well. She is a recipient of the Arjuna award for the year 2003. She currently tops the batting table with 703 ratings. Her composure when at the crease and ability to score briskly make her a dangerous cricketer. In addition to her ability with the bat, Raj rolls her arm over bowling leg-spinners and providing variety to the attack.
At the 2013 Women’s World Cup, Raj was the No.1 Cricketer in the ODI chart among women. She scored 100s: 1 and 50s: 4 in Test cricket, 100s: 5 and 50s: 50 with best bowling of 3/4 in ODIs and 50s: 10 in T20s.
In July 2017, she became the first player to score 6,000 runs in WODIs. She led the Indian team to the final of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup where the team lost to England by nine runs.
In September 2019, Raj has retired from T20I Cricket. She dreams to bring the World Cup to her country by 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,” she said in a BCCI press statement.
India’s Raj has announced her retirement from international T20s
- Mithali held the record for the highest individual score by an Indian Woman Cricketer in a World Cup match (91 not out off 104 deliveries which included 9 fours) against New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup 2005.Harmanpreet Kaur overtook Raj by scoring a century (107 from 109 balls) in the second match of ICC Women’s World Cup 2013 against England.
- Mithali is nicknamed “Lady Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket”, as she is currently the all-time leading run-scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
- During the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Raj scored her seventh consecutive half-century and made a record for most consecutive fifties by a player.
- Mithali is the 1st Indian and 5th woman cricketer overall to score over 1,000 World Cup runs.
- She holds the record for playing the most consecutive Women’s One Day Internationals for a team (109).
In popular culture
After the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures acquired the rights to make a feature film on Raj’s life. She said “Hoping that this movie inspires more people, especially young girls to take up sports as a career.”
The biopic is in planning and the shoot is scheduled to start in 2019. Raj said “I think Priyanka Chopra will be a great choice (to play me in the biopic). Our personalities match a lot. I am not a movie buff, so I’d love the experts to do their job.” 
Raj was involved in controversy with cricket management due to her attitude towards the game during the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20. She accused the coach Ramesh Powar and BCCI COA member Diana Edulji in a letter to BCCI of bias, humiliation and not including her in the T20 world cup semifinals. Powar in turn criticized that Raj had threatened that she would retire from the game of the cricket when asked to play down the batting order. He also accused Raj of ‘blackmailing and pressurising coaches’ apart from causing division in the team during the recently concluded World T20. He added, “despite being a senior player in the team she puts in minimum inputs in team meetings. She could not understand & adapt to the team plan. She ignored her role and batted for own milestones. Lack of keeping the momentum going which was putting extra pressure on other batters.” Raj’s 50 against Ireland in the same tournament in which she ended up playing 25 dot balls was also criticized by the coach.
Her relationship with the T20 team’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur is also said to be strained.