Cricketer Mithali Raj says she is pleasantly surprised to get Padma Shri
The captain of the Indian Women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj was awarded with a Padma Shri this Independence Day. The cricketer however, says she was not expecting it. After getting the award, Raj revealed that since she was pitted against cricketer Virat Kohli, she was sure it will go to him and was pleasantly surprised when her name was announced.
Women sportspersons rarely receive the same acclaim as their male counterparts and Mithali’s surprise at getting the award proves it. She said: “Honestly, when I was pitted against Virat Kohli (India’s Test captain), I gave up because when you compare us with men’s cricket then we think that we may not get it. So I was not expecting it, but it came as a pleasant surprise.”
According to a report by FirstPost, she said, “It (the national awards) is a nice way of appreciating your efforts. Because at a time when I started playing cricket, there was no awareness for women’s cricket. People were not even knowing that women’s cricket existed. And from that phase to today where people would want to follow women’s cricket, I think we have come a long way.”
Yet, happy about receiving the award, Wisden India reported her saying, “… These awards will really prop up young players to take up the sport and do better. With this award, people will follow women’s cricket keenly.” She added, “This is a great day for my entire family, especially for my parents (Arjuna awardee P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya – both former international volleyball players). I was not expecting this.”
The 32 year-old Captain, who has played 153 ODIs, 10 Tests and 47 T20 internationals since 1999, and has been a recipient of the Arjuna Award. She also started as the no.1 cricketer in the ODI chart among women at the 2013 Women’s World Cup.
[Feature Picture Courtesy: The Hans India]