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I feel fortunate and privileged: Mithali

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Mithali Raj said it had been a wonderful journey of highs and lows, and to be part of a transition in women’s cricket from being push-overs to one of the strongest contenders.

“When I look back, I feel fortunate and privileged to see the evolution of women’s cricket in India from my early days to the current era when the players are more recognised and have a fan base with huge support from the BCCI too,” Mithali said in an exclusive chat with The Hindu from Lucknow where she is on a personal visit.

“I am fortunate and grateful to God and all those who helped me to be part of this journey,” she said.

“The decision to quit was never an impulsive or an emotional one but had been on the cards ever since we came back from the last World Cup (50 overs) in New Zealand,” Mithali said.

“I have always insisted that the World Cup would be my last international assignment. It was a huge disappointment personally and from the team’s perspective. I hoped we would make it to the semis at least,” she said.

“I did have a discussion with my father and other well-wishers before I decided to call it a day. It took time for me to come out of the disappointment of the World Cup. That was the reason why I played only one domestic match after that,” Mithali said. “In a way, I was mentally preparing for this day after the World Cup,” she added.

“I was not perturbed by the growing criticism in the recent past about my rate of scoring. These things come when you are successful and for so long at the highest level,” she said.

Options

“I will definitely look at the options available for me when I look ahead. Given the choice by the BCCI, I prefer to come into the administration.  I know what the players need at different stages to take the sport to the next level,” Mithali said.

“The high-points of my career were the 2005 and the 2017 World Cups (50 overs). Not winning the World Cup would be the biggest regret,” she said. “I believe the 2017 edition broke many shackles as far Indian women’s cricket is concerned in terms of popularity, standard of the game. The team showed to the world what we are capable of,” she added.

“I can’t pinpoint any one moment as the most memorable or any other as the most disappointing. I always found the ability to keep going, especially fight back from tough times, being mentally more tough and gaining in confidence. I have never let any distraction get the better of me,” she said.



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