India veteran Mithali Raj has announced her retirement after a glorious international career spanning nearly 23 years.
Raj released a statement on social media on Wednesday, saying: "Like all journeys, this one too must come to an end. Today is the day I retire from all forms of international cricket."
"I feel now is the perfect time to call curtains on my playing career as the team is in capable hands of some very talented young players and the future of Indian cricket is bright."
Raj ends her 23-year international career 7805 ODI runs in 232 matches, at an average just over 50. She also scored 2364 runs in 89 T20Is, as well as 699 runs in 12 Tests, including a century and four half-centuries.
Thank you for all your love & support over the years!— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) June 8, 2022
I look forward to my 2nd innings with your blessing and support. pic.twitter.com/OkPUICcU4u
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice led the tributes to Raj. “Mithali is one of the all-time greats of the game. Over the past 23 years, many young girls and boys will have been inspired to take up the sport after watching her."
She finishes her career as the top run-scorer in ODI cricket, 1813 runs ahead of the next highest – England legend Charlotte Edwards.
She bids farewell to the game as the No.7-ranked batter in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's ODI Player Rankings.
Raj captained India to the final of the ICC Women's World Cup 2017, and also holds the record for the most matches captained in Women's World Cups, breaking Australian legend Belinda Clark's record during the ICC Women's World Cup 2022 in March. She also led India to four consecutive Asia Cup triumphs between 2005 and 2012.
However, perhaps her most significant achievement as captain came in 2014 as India sealed a historic Test series victory in England, with Raj leading from the front.
"It was an honour to have led the team for so many years. It definitely shaped me as a person and hopefully helped shape Indian Women's cricket as well."
In her statement, Raj said she hoped to continue being involved in the game. "The journey may have ended, but another one beckons as I'd love to stay involved in the game I love and contribute to the growth of Women's Cricket in India and world over."
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