Mithali Raj reveals about her decision to retire from T20Is
On 3 September, the world stopped, when Indian cricketer Mithali Raj announced her decision to retire from the T20I. Having played 89 T20I, including the three WT20 Women’s World Cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka), 2014 (Bangladesh) and 2016 (India), the 36-year-old cricketer said goodbye to the shorter format, after racking up T20I 2364-runs.
Recently, the retired T20I cricketer spoke about her decision to retire and revealed what made her take such a drastic step.
In an exclusive at Hindustan times, Mithali stated that the reports, which claimed she was available to the T20Is against South Africa, had misquoted her. Moreover, those reports came in during the beginning of 2019, but not a day earlier.
Mithali Raj Speaks about Her Decision to Retire
“Well no, I was misquoted. It’s been coming since the beginning of this year. It wasn’t something that came overnight.”
Saying if her retirement would affect her, the Indian cricketer said, “Well, you can also see it positively. You have time to work on your fitness, do all those things you couldn’t in a moment: exercise sessions, walks, running, develop your stamina, work in strength, etc. Now it gives me more time to work on my skill. Also. So now I have more time to work completely on myself as a player.”
When asked if the T20I format seemed awkward, the former T20I player said: “I wouldn’t say it was easy because my preparation for the T20 format was also equally difficult. However, yes, I made the time and any decision is not easy, but life is about moving on. That’s what sport has taught me, too.”
When asked about his next target, the veteran cricketer declared, “Well, it’s just a target. You have 2019 and 2020 to finish first. It’s a goal I’m trying to work towards.”
Claiming that winning 2021 is her biggest motivation, the 36-year-old woman said, “Well, at different stages of your career, you have different factors that motivate you. Right now, I was looking forward to India winning the World Cup. That’s something that has evaded me in the past, and it’s something I want to give one last chance. So that’s something that motivates me immensely even now to look forward.”
Describing the mental challenges a veteran faces as the player approaches the end, Raj said, “I think when an athlete plays for an extended period or years, we tend to prioritize things. At the same time, an athlete faces many challenges to achieve a certain period. Yes, Indians believe a lot in statistics and numbers, and it’s part of every sport and every athlete. However, I suppose at the end of the day the athlete knows what to stick to.”
Describing India’s youngest T20I debutant, Raj said, “I think she’s a very talented young woman. Also, given the right exposure, it can be an advantage for the Indian team in the future.”
Citing the challenges he faced from the start, and Raj stated that defeating Australia on his turf was the most important task.
“The T20I series in Australia (in 2015/16, where India beat Australia 2-1),” concluded Mithali, who spoke on the sidelines of a Sketchers Performance Mumbai Walkathon event in Mumbai on Thursday. The marathon is scheduled for November 24.
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