Cricket

Woman in blue: Mithali Raj on how women’s cricket is finally gaining visibility

Mithali Raj

Mithali Raj

For someone who says cricket wasn’t her first love as a child, Mithali Raj has had quite a good run in the field.

She’s captained the Indian Women’s cricket team twice to the ICC World Cup finals and was the highest run scorer for the country this year. During the World Cup in June/July her team and she managed to grab enough attention with their performance. They returned home from England to a rousing welcome at the Mumbai airport.

An inclusive inItiative

    “When you see something live, you tend to appreciate it more,” says Raj, pleased with the unparalleled broadcast of the ICC Women’s World Cup this time. “The visibility in this World Cup was immense. We got more followers. We couldn’t get this momentum earlier,” she adds.

    The cricketer was in the city at the launch of Naturals salon’s first Enable outlet that employs differently-abled people.

    “It’s a great platform to showcase their ability. This makes them independent,” says Raj adding, “Just like the women’s team struggles for gender equality, these people too struggle to prove their capabilities every day.”

    While she agrees things are looking up for women’s cricket in the country there still are a few issues plaguing sportswomen. “The career of a sportsperson is usually short. For women there is also the challenge of marriage and family.

    Being Mithali

      Even though we are increasingly becoming more career-oriented, I’ve seen a lot of talented girls get in the family way because of pressure from society and their families. Society should not try to subjugate women.” Raj has been playing for 17 years now and 2017 has been particularly good for her. She’s working on her autobiography and there’s also going to be a film made on her life. Raj and team will now prepare for the T20 World Cup next year in the West Indies.

      She says there could also be an IPL for women in the future though “that requires a lot of discussions in terms of franchise, corporates and owners.” Like mixed doubles in tennis, is there ever a possibility of a mixed team? Raj smiles, “When it comes to men’s cricket, a lot depends on strength. Even though the standard of women’s cricket has vastly improved since the 90s, we don’t match their strength.”


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      Printable version | May 21, 2022 6:24:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/woman-in-blue/article19828621.ece