Mithali Raj retires from T20Is

Mithali Raj. © ICC

Mithali Raj, former India captain, announced her retirement from Twenty20 internationals on Tuesday (September 3). The 36-year-old has made the announcement barely a week after saying she would be available for selection for India’s home series against South Africa later this month.

Mithali was India’s first ever captain in T20Is, leading them against England in 2006. She went on to play 89 matches for the country, captaining them on 32 occasions, including three T20 World Cups— 2012, 2014 and 2016.

“After representing India in T20 internationals since 2006, I wish to retire from T20Is to focus my energies on readying myself for the 2021 One Day World Cup,” Mithali said in a statement. “It remains my dream to win a World Cup for my country and I want to give it my best. I thank the BCCI for their continuous support and wish the Indian T20 team good luck as they prepare for the home series against South Africa Women.”

Raj’s place in India’s T20I XI has been under scrutiny for close to a year now— more so after the public fallout with Ramesh Powar. Since the start of October 2018, Raj, normally one of the first names on the list, found herself on the bench for four out 11 of the T20Is India played. Following consecutive scores of fifty in the Women’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean last year against Pakistan and Ireland, the right-hander was dropped for the semi-final against England.

The veteran’s last T20I appearance came in Guwahati against England in March 2019, where she scored an unbeaten 30 off 32 balls, taking India to the brink of victory before watching her teammates collapse in a heap.

Mithali retires with a number of records under her belt:

  • India’s highest run-getter in T20Is: 2,364 runs in 89 matches
  • Highest average in T20Is: 37.52
  • Most fifties scored by an Indian, and third-most overall: 17
  • India’s second-most capped player: 89