Legendary India Women’s National Cricket Team batter Mithali Raj has hinted at coming out of retirement to participate in the inaugural edition of the Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL), which is expected to commence next year.
Mithali Raj announced her retirement from all forms of cricket on June 8, 2022. She played 232 ODIs, 12 Tests and 89 T20Is for the India Women’s National Cricket Team and scored 7805 runs at an average of 50.7 in ODIs, 699 runs at an average of 43.68 in Tests and 2364 runs at an average of 37.52 in T20Is.
Speaking on the first episode of ICC’s new podcast, 100% Cricket, Raj dropped a hint about her cricket comeback during a chat with former England star Isa Guha and New Zealand off-spinner Frankie Mackay.
Mithali said that there is still some time left before the Women’s Indian Premier League begins and she is keeping the cricket comeback option open. She said:
“I’m keeping that option open. I’ve not yet decided. There are a few more months to go before the women’s IPL happens. It would be lovely to be part of the first edition of the women’s IPL.”
I thought retirement would slow down my lifestyle – Mithali Raj
Mithali further said that she had thought that her lifestyle would have slowed down after retirement from cricket, which hasn’t really happened.
“I thought it [retirement] would slow down my lifestyle, in the sense that I don’t have to plan my day, week or next series,” she said.
“After I announced my retirement, I was down with Covid, and when I recovered from that I got involved in the promotional events of the movie [her biopic Shabaash Mithu, which was released in theatres in India earlier this month].
“So far it is as hectic as it has been [as a player], there’s no change to my lifestyle yet. Maybe when all these things die down, I’d probably feel the difference of what it is post-retirement.”
Mithali Raj, who made her international debut at the age of 16, also lauded young batter Shafali Verma and said that she can single-handedly win games for India. She said:
“I have been a big fan of her game. I have seen that she’s one player who has the ability to win the game single-handedly for India against any attack and any team. She is one of those players that you get to see probably once in a generation.”
“When I saw Shafali in a domestic match when she played against Indian Railways, she scored a fifty but I could see a glimpse of a player who could change the entire match just with her innings.”
“And when she played for Velocity in the first edition of the Challenger Trophy, she played for my team and I saw that she has the ability and the raw power that you rarely get to see at that age to clear the boundary and hit a six at will.”
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