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Name: Mithali Raj

Date of Birth: 3rd December 1982

Mithali Raj is a former Indian cricketer who captained the India women's national cricket team in Tests and ODIs. She is the highest run-scorer in women's international cricket and held this record until 2022. Raj has received several prestigious national and international awards, including the Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World in 2017, Arjuna Award in 2003, the Padma Shri in 2015, and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2021, India's highest sporting honour.

Raj's cricketing journey began at the tender age of 10 when she started playing the sport. She represented the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's AP Urbanik School and made her domestic debut for Andhra Pradesh in 1995 at just 13 years old, being one of the youngest to represent a state. Raj was consistently amongst the top run-scorers in domestic tournaments like Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. She also led the Railway's team for many years and guided them to numerous titles. She also played for Air India alongside Purnima Rau, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain. Her performances in domestic cricket paved the way for her selection in the Indian national team.

Raj made her international debut for India in an ODI against Ireland in 1999 at the age of 16 and scored an unbeaten 114 runs. She made her Test debut in the 2001–02 season against South Africa at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. She quickly established herself as a reliable batter and went on to captain the Indian team in both Tests and ODIs.

At the age of 19, on August 17, 2002, she defeated England in the second and final test held at County Ground, Taunton, UK, with a new high score of 214, shattering Karen Rolton's world record for the highest individual test score of 209* in her third test.

Raj guided India to their first Women's Cricket World Cup final in South Africa in 2005 but they were defeated by Australia.

She guided her team to their maiden Test and series triumph in England in August of that year, and they successfully defended the Asia Cup at the end of the year without dropping a single match.

In 2005, she became the permanent captain of India and is the only female player to have captained India in more than one ICC ODI World Cup final, doing so twice in 2005 and 2017. Raj holds numerous records in international cricket. She is the only female cricketer to surpass the 7,000-run mark in Women's One Day International (WODI) matches. She is also the first player to score seven consecutive 50s in ODIs and holds the record for most half-centuries in WODIs.

In December 2017 she was selected for the ICC Women's ODI Team of the Year.

She was included in the Supenova team in 2018 for the Women’s T20 challenge. Raj's achievements extend to the T20 format as well. In June 2018, during the 2018 Women's Twenty20 Asia Cup, she became the first player from India to score 2000 runs in T20Is and the first female cricketer to reach the 2000 WT20I runs milestone.

In 2019 she signed for the team Velocity in Women’s T20 challenge and lead the team. They went to the finals under Raj’s captaincy but unfortunately finished second on Net Run Rate. In 2020 they finished at the last position under Raj’s captaincy. In 2022 Raj was replaced by Deepti Sharma as the captain of the team but she still was part of the team.

Her most significant accomplishment came in July 2021 when she broke Charlotte Edwards's record of 10,273 runs to become the player with the most runs in women's international cricket.She is also nicknamed "Lady Tendulkar of Indian Women's cricket", as she is currently the all-time leading run-scorer for India in all formats, including Tests, ODIs and T20Is.

Among her other notable achievements are being the first woman to score seven consecutive 50+ scores in ODIs, she is also the first Indian woman to score a double century in Tests, and captaining India to the final of the 2017 Women's World Cup.

She is also the only woman cricketer to score over 7,000 runs in ODIs and holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian woman in Tests (214). She became the First Indian woman to complete 20 years in international cricket in 2019.

Mithali Raj was also presented with a few awards starting with Arjuna Award in 2003 followed by Padma Shri in 2015. In 2017 she was awarded with Youth Sports Icon of Excellence Award, Vogue Sportsperson of the Year, Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World and finally in 2021 she was awarded with Khel Ratna Award.

On June 8, 2022, Mithali Raj announced her retirement from all formats of international cricket, bringing an end to her remarkable 23-year career. Despite her retirement, she continues to be involved in the game, serving as a mentor and commentator.

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