Mithali Raj has clarified that though it's a privilege for her to be compared with Sachin Tendulkar she would rather be known for her own identity than be compared to any male cricketer. Raj also stated that the televised coverage of the 2017 Women's World Cup helped the team gain due recognition.
Indian women's cricket team skipper Mithali Raj broke a plethora of records during the team's 2017 ICC Women's World Cup campaign that helped the team reach their second World Cup final. Not only did she become the first woman to score seven consecutive centuries, but she also ended the tournament as the highest run-getter in women's ODI history surpassing the 6000-run mark.
The 34-year old's remarkable achievements and consistent performances have led her to being compared with some of her male counterparts and one of the names that came up the most was that of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.
However, Raj stated that she would rather be known for her own identity than be compared with male cricketers.
“On the one hand, being compared to Sachin is an absolute privilege. I don’t think I’ve achieved even half of what he did for the country. On the other, being a woman cricketer, I want people to know me for my own identity. I would rather not be compared to a male cricketer,” she told Hindustan Times.
Previously, the Indian women's skipper had lashed out at a reporter before the commencement of the World Cup when she was questioned about who her favourite male cricketer was. In response, she had advised the reporter to quiz the male cricketers about who their favourite female cricketer was. Now, commenting on the incident Raj said,“I believe it wasn’t the right platform for a query like that. On the occasion, the question sounded irrelevant, even frivolous.”
The 34-year old had also drawn comparisons with former Indian skipper MS Dhoni for her calm and cool persona during games, but Raj revealed that it was one of her natural characteristics.
"I have always been like this. I want to keep a check on my emotions while on the field,” she said.
Further, Raj has been part of the Indian women's cricket team for over a decade now having been a part of the 2005 World Cup squad as well. Moreover, she has seen Indian women's cricket come a long way during her time in the side so far and believes the televised coverage and presence of social media has helped the players of the Indian women's cricket team gain their due recognition.
“We played equally well in the 2005 World Cup — India lost in the final to Australia — but this time round, the excitement seems to have exploded. Then all our matches were not televised and unlike this year, there was no social media or the ICC working round-the-clock to market the tournament. This is a huge differentiator, but we are loving it,” she said.
Finally, apart from the batting abilities Raj also made news for her habit of reading during the Indian innings at the World Cup. When questioned about this habit she explained that it helped her keep her nerves in check.
“I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I recall. I don’t know what the big fuss about reading during a World Cup game is about. It makes me less nervous while I wait to bat. Since ICC norms don’t permit a Kindle, I carry a book along. There may be some anxiety in the dressing room and that may become contagious. But I am a spontaneous person and I don’t want to plan my innings before I step out on the field. I want to stay in the moment,” she reasoned.