History was rewritten at the ICC Women’s World Cup this year when Indian skipper Mithali Raj became the highest run-scorer in women’s ODIs. Raj achieved this feat against Australia at Bristol on Wednesday, as she surpassed Charlotte Edwards’ (Eng) tally of 5992 runs. Incidentally, she also became the first woman to score 6000 ODI runs in one-day international cricket. With this feat not only does Raj top the charts among players across the globe but she has also moved way ahead in comparison with her Indian counterparts ( in terms of runs scored in ODIs).
Numbers reveal that while Raj, who made her fifth appearance in a World Cup this year, currently sits pretty at the top with 6028 runs, the next Indian player behind her is Anjum Chopra with 2856 runs. Third on the list is Jaya Sharma with 2091 runs. Current Indian squad member Harmanpreet Kaur is next in line with 1743 runs while Anju Jain is after her with 1729 runs. So apart from Harmanpreet Kaur none of the others in the list has a realistic chance of eclipsing her feat. Even 28-year-old Harmanpreet with 1743 runs is 4285 runs behind her.
Among the international players, the top five run-getters apart from Raj and Edwards include – Belinda Clark (Aus) with 4844, Karen Rolton (Aus) with 4814 and Claire Taylor with 4101 runs.
34-year-old Raj, who made her debut at the age of 16 in 1999, has a had a stellar career so far. At the age of 14, she was named among the probables in the 1997 World Cup but she did not make the cut. However, two years later at a tender age of 16, she slammed her first century against Ireland which made her the youngest centurion in women’s ODIs. Since then, many a time she has been deemed as the ‘Sachin Tendulkar of Women’s Cricket’.
In 2005 she led the India team at the World Cup for the first time but failed at the final hurdle. But under her leadership, the Indian team has grown in stature. Now, before the World Cup in 2017, she once again led India on a phenomenal run of form where it won four ODI series and secured 16 wins out of the 17 games that they played. Noticeably, in her last 15 innings before the World Cup, Raj scored 833 runs at an average of 104.12.
A winner of the Arjuna and the Padma Shri, Mithali Raj is also India’s highest female run scorer in all three formats with a staggering 8399 runs.
In her illustrious career, Mithali Raj has often shouldered the burden of the entire team on her shoulders. Recently she claimed that the lack of support in the batting unit did not allow her to improve her own batting. “My game would have been much better than what it is or what it was,” Mithali said. Before leaving for the World Cup Raj had claimed that winning the Women’s World Cup in England would revolutionise the sport in India and inspire young girls to pick up the game. Whether that happens is a matter of conjecture but for now, she is the inspiration that many young girls will definitely look upto.