Mithali Raj By The Numbers: Significant firsts, remarkable seconds and a legendary legacy
Having first played an ODI in June 1999, Mithali Raj called time on her international career on Wednesday after almost 23 years at the top level, easily the longest for any player in ODIs.
In a long and storied career, Mithali scripted plenty of records in all three formats that will prove hard to break:
Runs scored by Mithali in international cricket, easily the most by any batter. Only one other batter has scored more than 10000 runs in international cricket, England’s Charlotte Edwards, who tallied 10,273.
Mithali captained India in 155 ODIs, which is the most for any player as captain. Only two other players have captained their country in more than 100 ODIs. Edwards captained England in 117 ODIs, while Belinda Clark captained Australia in 101 ODIs.
Mithali’s tally of 232 ODIs is unsurpassed. India’s Jhulan Goswami is the only other player to appear in more than 200 ODIs. She has played 201, while Edwards is third on the list with 191.
Mithali had the most success in ODIs and her 64 50s are the most in the format. She is well ahead of everyone else – Edwards, unsurprisingly, is second on this list too with 46, while West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor is third with 37.
During the World Cup earlier this year, Mithali also became the player with most matches as captain at ODI World Cups. She overtook Clark, who captained Australia in 23 matches. Susan Goatman is third on the list with 19 matches as captain.
Mithali was the first player to play ODIs in four different decades: 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. She also holds the distinction of being the youngest and oldest Indian to score a 50 at the ODI World Cup and was the first player in international cricket to score 7000 ODI runs.
She was also the first Indian to score 2000 runs in T20Is and continues to remain India’s leading run getter in that format too, even though she retired from the format in September 2019 after being controversially left out of the team at the 2018 T20 World Cup.
Mithali also was the first batter to score 50s in seven consecutive ODI innings, a record that remains unmatched. Raj’s streak included scores of 70* (vs. Sri Lanka), 64 (vs. South Africa), 73* (vs. Bangladesh), 51*, 54, 62* (all vs. South Africa) and 71 vs. England between February and June 2017.
Mithali scored a total of 85 50s in international cricket. Other than her 64 ODI 50s, she scored 17 T20 50s and four 50s in Tests. Edwards is a distant second with a total of 61 50s across the three formats.
A classical player, Mithali was not a natural in the T20 format but she adapted well to the new format, finishing her career with 17 50s, third on the all-time list behind Suzie Bates and Stafanie Taylor, who both have scored 21 50s in the format.
Mithali scored 8 hundreds in her international career, 7 in ODIs and one in Tests. Her highest score in T20Is was 97*. Her century tally is the best by an Indian player. India’s new ODI vice captain, Smriti Mandhana is next best with six 100s in international cricket.
Mithali has a host of significant firsts and was at the heart of the transformation in women’s cricket’s popularity over the course of her career but she also has a number of important seconds against her name.
Her Test career lasted for over 19 years, 262 days – the same as Jhulan Goswami – and is bettered only by New Zealand’s Vera Burt, whose three-Test career remarkably spanned 20 years and 335 days.
Raj was also the second cricketer after Edwards to achieve the milestone of scoring 10,000 runs in international cricket.
She was also the second fastest to 2000 runs in T20 cricket, getting there in just 70 innings, two more than West Indies’ Stafanie Taylor, who got there in 68 innings.
She fell agonizingly short of the record of most consecutive matches as ODI captain. Her 57 matches being a close second to Clark’s 58.
She did, however, captain in more international matches than any other Indian player. Her tally of 195 matches comprises 155 ODIs, 32 T20Is and 8 Tests. She relinquished the T20I captaincy after the 2016 World Cup but captained in her last Test and ODI.
One of only seven players to score a double hundred in Tests, Mithali holds the distinction of being the youngest to score a double hundred. She was only 19 years and 254 days old when she struck a sublime 214 against England at Taunton in 2002.
Having been the first to get past the 7k mark, Mithali eventually ended her career with an astounding 7805 runs in ODIs at an equally impressive average of 50.68. She is almost 2000 runs ahead of Edwards, who is second with 5992 runs. Stafanie Taylor, who is still active, is third with 5298 runs. Mithali’s average is only bettered by Meg Lanning (53.13) among the top 90 run-getters in the format.
The 2022 ODI World Cup was Mithali’s sixth appearance at the 50 overs World Cup. She’s the only player to appear in six ODI World Cups. Six different players have appeared at five ODI World Cups, including Edwards alongside Goswami, Katherine Brunt and Anisa Mohammed, all three of whom made their fifth appearance earlier this year.