Mithali Raj | Autobiography | Number one Batswoman |

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When I was young, I was the only girl in my cricket camp Says Mithali Raj 

When I was young, I was the only girl in my cricket camp Says Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Mithali Raj has brought great laurels to our country. She has been leading the way for women’s cricket India for many years now. She has made a commendable contribution to women’s cricket as well as to cricket as a whole. She led India to the final of the women’s World Cup recently. Indian cricket fans must thank her for achieving such heights in the world. She is now the leading run-getter in women’s cricket.

Rahul Dravid, India A, Under-19, Coach, Bat Thickness, Impact, Cricket, Team India, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Women Cricket
Dravid also remarked Indian women cricket have a quality support staff available to nurse the young talent. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

She recently became the number one ranked batswoman in the world. Raj in her entire career has seen many ups and downs. She has faced a lot of criticism for her acts on and off the field. All these struggles and criticisms have inspired the Indian batter to write an autobiography. Being a women cricketer in India in the 1990’s was a difficult task and Raj will share all those experiences in the Autobiography which will be in the stands next April.

When I was young, I was the only girl in my cricket camp Says Mithali Raj 1
Mithali Raj. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

In a recent interview, Raj spoke her heart out and also shared some information about the book saying:

“There is a lot of interesting gossip. The life of a cricketer is never boring,”

Here is what Raj shared-:

When I was young, I was the only girl in my cricket camp Says Mithali Raj 2
Mithali Raj. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

Why did you decide to write this book, and what can we look forward to?

The recent ICC Women’s World Cup was a hit with the public, so a lot of publishers approached me to write an autobiography. This is a good time to pen down my journey — to talk about the misconceptions and struggles I faced as a woman cricketer in the 1990s.

What were some of the misconceptions and struggles that you faced?

Women’s cricket wasn’t considered a profession. There was no infrastructure or money in it. A lot of girls had to spend money from their own pocket to tour. I remember being picked for a tour to Sri Lanka in 1999. My dad approached his bank and my school to get some funds to make it happen. It was a big struggle.

You have changed the perception of women’s cricket in India. Was it a conscious effort or did it happen organically?

I did make an effort, but it wasn’t a conscious thing. My goal was to create an identity of my own. My parents worked hard to give me this life. I wanted to make them proud.

You have a long-playing innings. What do you credit this to?

The key is fitness. My fitness routine has changed with age. As a young kid, I was into running. Later, I started strength training. Now that I’m 34, it’s all about maintaining a good fitness level with proper recovery and rest periods. From the start, I’ve wanted to play for India for as long as I can. Sportspersons have a short career span. I’ve seen sportspersons retiring early, and then regretting it. I didn’t want to be like that.

How important are mentors ? Who are yours and what did they give you?

I’ve had many mentors, but none more important than my parents. My mother is 60, but even at this age, she is very particular about waking up early and doing some exercise. She is an inspiration, because sometimes even professional athletes get a little lazy or lethargic. My mom keeps me on track. She lifts light weights, does a little cycling, some yoga.

You’ve influenced a number of young people to take up sport, not just cricket. Do you have any interesting stories around this?

Earlier, only young boys approached me for autographs and photos. You didn’t see many girls in sports or cricket academies. Now it is different; there are plenty of girls playing sports too. When I was young, I was the only girl in my cricket camp. Some boys would bully me. This was because they believed that a girl cannot play cricket. This perception will change only if girls and boys play alongside each other. That way, boys will understand that girls belong on the field too. It will create a healthy atmosphere for boys and girls alike.

Fitness is seen as an integral part of preventive health today. What is your advice to people who may not be into professional sport, but still need to stay fit and active?

I’m not a yoga person, but everybody I know recommends yoga for flexibility. At the same time, one should incorporate some cardio and strength training. For someone starting his/her fitness journey, my advice would be to start slow, but stay consistent.

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