‘Mithali the face of women’s cricket’

Nooshin Al Khadeer, left, with Mithali Raj.

Nooshin Al Khadeer, left, with Mithali Raj. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Nooshin Al Khadeer has been Mithali Raj’s best friend for close to 23 years now. And when Mithali announced her retirement, Nooshin was not really surprised.

“It is a mixed feeling for sure. But we have to respect her call,” Nooshin told The Hindu.

“I can only say Mithali has accomplished whatever an Indian woman cricketer could. Her contribution will always be remembered. She was, she is and will remain the face of women’s cricket,” said Nooshin, who said she played 78 ODIs and claimed 100 wickets, and five Tests either with Mithali or under her.“

Commenting on her role the few times Mithali went through a tough phase, Nooshin said her emphasis was on the fact that Mithali should focus on what the task was at hand. “Since she was a batter, I thought she should score runs and nothing else. Perform and ignore all the distractions,” was Nooshin’s advice.

Grit and discipline

Were you surprised that Mithali played at the highest level for 23 years despite being a women cricketer? “Honestly, no. Because of her grit, discipline and great talent,” Nooshin said.

What have been the best moments with Mithali? “All her achievements. Because, I have been part of them as a friend, well-wisher. We were always connected with each other. So, when your best friend does better than what she had done a day or a year before, it is a huge moment for you too,” Nooshin said.

Mithali was part of the team when Nooshin made her international debut. “Glad that there is no retirement to our friendship which began in 2009 as rivals. I was leading Karnataka and Mithali the then united Andhra Pradesh in the under-19 grade. Soon we became best friends as our thoughts and ideas were so similar,” the 41-year-old Nooshin recalled.

Future endeavours

“Mithali’s playing journey has ended. But friendship is beyond all these things. I wish her good luck in all her future endeavours and I am sure she will do the right things in whatever assignment she takes up,” the former India off-spinner said.

“I have been part of her journey - ups and downs. The most impressive feature of her is that she has always been a very grounded person despite all her achievements and the honours she received,” Nooshin said.

What role do you envisage for Mithali? “The kind of experience she has, she can contribute as an administrator like Belinda Clark. Mithali is suitable to change the face of women’s cricket in India and across the world,” Nooshin added.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 12:09:59 am |