New Delhi, Sep 4: Former India T20I captain Mithali Raj on Tuesday announced her retirement from T20 Internationals.
Mithali led India in 32 T20Is, including three Women's WT20 World Cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka), 2014 (Bangladesh) and 2016 (India). She was also the captain, when India played their first ever women's T20 International in Derby in 2006. In 89 T20 Internationals, Mithali scored 2364 runs, the most by an Indian woman in T20Is, including 17 50s, with a career-best of 97 not out.
"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. 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," a statement by BCCI quoted Mithali as saying.
Mithali, who continues to be India's ODI captain, played her last T20I against England on March 9, 2019 and remained unbeaten on 30 off 32 balls. She is also the first Indian to reach the landmark of 2000 T20I runs. The ace lady skipper had landed in a controversy in November, 2018, when she was excluded from the World T20 semi-final against England, which India lost. The grapevine was abuzz with rumours that her exclusion was due to her rift with India's current T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur.
Mithali was also left out from the Indian women's next T20 International against New Zealand in Wellington in February. Harmanpreet had explained the decision and said the idea was to give younger girls more opportunity. There was a lot of speculation on whether the veteran batswoman will be considered by the selectors for the upcoming home series against South Africa, with the focus on youngsters, ahead of next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.
Mithali, though, had earlier made herself available for the series. The selectors are scheduled to meet in Mumbai on September 5, to pick the squad for the first three T20 Internationals against South Africa.(UNI)