Mithali Raj confessed her post-retirement plans might include another stint playing cricket if the women's IPL comes to materialize in the near future. She went on to discuss her activities since she announced retirement before speaking great words of praise for compatriot Shafali Verma.
Despite spending the majority of her life playing professional cricket, one can't keep the sport away from Mirhali Raj. The Indian legend had announced her retirement from cricket last month after a glittering 23-year career but has already hinted at a possible comeback next year.
The 39-year-old admitted to considering taking part in the first edition of the Women's IPL. The tournament is expected to take place next year and might feature as many as six teams, although no official confirmation has been presented by the tournament's governing authorities.
"I'm keeping that option open. I've not yet decided,” she said on the first episode of ICC's 100% Cricket podcast.
“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."
Raj was thrust into the spotlight recently after Bollywood released a biopic on her unprecedented career titled 'Shabaash Mithu' featuring Taapsee Pannu. The movie came out in theatres on July 15 and has seen the Indian talisman travel around the country to promote the production. The veteran of 333 international games reflected on what her life has been like post-retirement.
“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. 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. 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," the batter revealed.
Having made her debut at 16, Raj rose to the top echelons of the sport at a very young age, much like what Shafali Verma has been achieving of late. The 18-year-old has already clad India's blue 52 times and at this rate is not only set to emulate but surpass Raj's appearances with the national side. Verma has tallied over 1,500 runs on the international stage and is coming off an excellent WODI series against Sri Lanka, registering scores of 35, 71* and 49.
“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," Raj said heaping big praise on the youngster.
“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.”