Indian women's cricket legend Mithali Raj retires from T20 Internationals
The former Indian T20I captain Mithali Raj has announced her retirement from international T20s in an aim to give herself an opportunity in fulfilling her dream of winning the ODI World Cup for India.
Mithali Raj who has represented the Indian team in 89 matches, has captained the side for 32 T20Is including three World Cups in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Mithali ends her career as the top run-getter for the Indian side in T20Is with 2364 runs at an average of 37.5 and the highest score of 97 not out.
Her strike-rate has been a talk-point for a long time now, and that was one of the reasons claimed by the then-coach Ramesh Powar who overlooked her for youngsters during the 2018 T20I World Cup.
This did not go well with Mithali Raj who claimed that she was "unfairly dropped" from the XI for the semi-final, which India lost. Ramesh Powar said that she even threatened to retire if she were not allowed to open the innings.
However, the things got smoother when she was back into the team for the T20Is against New Zealand and England. Still, her role in the team was questioned, and there were continuous talks about her retirement.
Last week, Mithali was asked whether she would take part in the T20I series against South Africa which would begin later this month, Mithali Raj said, "she is available" and "is taking one series at a time".
However, within days, Mithali Raj has written to BCCI stating that she would like to call it a day.
"After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 one-day World Cup," she said in a BCCI press statement. "It remains my dream to win a World Cup for my country and I want to give it my best.
"I thank the BCCI for their continuous support and wish the Indian T20 team good luck as they prepare for the home series against South Africa Women."
India will take on South Africa from September 20 and before the contest, the South African team will take on Board President's XI, led by Indian Wicket-keeper Sushma Verma.
This series now is an opportunity for the youngsters to knock the doors of the selectors; even for the captain who is yet to play a T20I match for India since 2016.