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Mithali Raj, India's former One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) captain has announced her retirement from the game on Tuesday, 3 September. The 36-year-old cricketer made her T20I debut in 2006 and represented India in 89 matches. She scored 2,364 runs at an average of 37.52, including 17 half-centuries. She led India in 32 T20Is including three Women's T20 World cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka), 2014 (Bangladesh), and 2016 (India).
Mithali Raj played her last T20I match against England on 9 March, 2019, where she scored an unbeaten 30 off 32 balls. She is now planning to shift her focus to the ODI format for the next World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in New Zealand in January and February 2021.
Here are some interesting facts about Mithali Raj, a fierce leader and a warrior of a cricketer:
1. Before taking up cricket, Mithali Raj was into classical dancing and during her childhood days, she learnt Bharatanatyam and wanted to become famous in the same field.
2. Mithali Raj's father Dorai Raj was an officer in the Indian Air Force.
3. Mithali Raj was honoured with Arjuna Award in 2013 and the Padma Shri in 2015.
4. She is a keen reader. She is famous for reading a book by Jalaluddin Rumi on life essentials before walking out to bat against England in 2017.
BREAKING: Mithali Raj calls curtains on an illustrious T20I career! pic.twitter.com/iNfcSbdeHM— ICC (@ICC) September 3, 2019
5. Mithali Raj was just 16 years old when she made her ODI debut. She is also the youngest female cricketer to score a 100 on her ODI debut. Her score was 114.
6. Mithali Raj became the captain of the Indian Women's Cricket Team in 2004, at the age of 21.
7. The Indian Women's Cricket Team won its first Test series against England in 2006 under Mithali Raj's captaincy.
8. Mithali Raj is the second most capped ODI women's cricketer in the world with 186 ODIs after Charlotte Edwards (191) in England.
9. Between 2005 and 2008, Mithali Raj led her team in three Asia Cup tournaments and won them.
10. Mithali Raj became the first female cricketer to win the Wisden India Cricketer of the Year in 2015.