India cricket star Mithali Raj is the first woman to finish 20 years in cricket. The Indian skipper finished 20 years and 105 days. She played her 1st-ever ODI for India way back in June 1999 versus Ireland. She guided India in her 205th ODI on Wednesday against South Africa at the Stadium in Vadodara. After which she became the only woman cricketer to have played ODI cricket for over two decades.

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Longest One-Day International careers
(Men/Women – Source: Sampath Stats)

22y 91d – Sachin Tendulkar (Dec 1989 – Mar 2012)
21y 184d – Sanath Jayasuriya (Dec 1989 – Jun 2011)
20y 272d – Javed Miandad (Jun 1975 – Mar 1996)
20y 105d* – Mithali Raj (Jun 1999 – Present)

Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Javed Miandad have had more lasting careers (in terms of the number of years played) in international cricket.

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Mithali Raj already maintains the record for the highest number of ODIs played by a female cricketer (204), ahead of 2nd-placed England’s Charlotte Edwards (191). India’s veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami is 3rd on the list with 178 matches.

Mithali Raj commemorated the breakthrough by steering India to an 8-wicket win over South Africa. It was the 1st ODI of the 3-match series. In the absence of wounded opener Smriti Mandhana, debutant Priya Punia (75) and teenager Jemimah Rodrigues (55) dazzled as India reached a 165-run mark with comfort.

Mithali’s commitment to winning the World Cup in 2021

Mithali Raj, who drove India to the final of the 2017 Women’s World Cup, is intent on delivering in what will be her ultimate 50-over World Cup in 2021. She left from T20Is beginning this year to concentrate on lengthening her 50-over career.

“After serving India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to leave from T20Is to focus my strengths on preparing myself for the 2021 One Day World Cup. I aspire to win a World Cup for my nation, and want to give it my best,” 36-year-old Mithali Raj said to India Today. She added that she appreciates the BCCI for their constant help. Raj wishes the Indian T20 team luck as they plan for the home series facing South Africa Women.

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Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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