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  Sports   Cricket  26 Jul 2017  Not our day: Mithali Raj’s family

Not our day: Mithali Raj’s family

THE ASIAN AGE. | BIPIN DANI
Published : Jul 26, 2017, 12:21 am IST
Updated : Jul 26, 2017, 12:21 am IST

The Indian Women’s Cricket Team, headed by captain Mithali Raj, lost the World Cup final on Sunday, but they won a billion hearts.

Mithali Raj
 Mithali Raj

On Sunday, the mood at Mithali Raj’s Hyderabad home was “electric” till the last ball was bowled in the Women’s World Cup final against England. 

“I was travelling on work to Delhi and could not watch the match, but everyone back home (in Hyderabad) was watching. My mother (Leela Raj) normally does not watch matches but this time everyone was positive because of the team’s performance so far and was keeping their fingers crossed for the final,” says the captain’s brother, Mithun, who also played cricket in the initial years. 

Though India lost the final, Mithali, who was unfortunately run out, won the hearts of many. “I am a little disappointed by the way Mithali got out, but at the end of the day, it’s a team game. For India, there is always a next time, but for Mithali, probably this was the last chance,” he says adding, “I would not call it a failure… The team has actually raised the bar in terms of how they play and perform — their passion, aggression etc. From this point onwards, however, they need to gain momentum as has been with men’s cricket. They need the recognition and facilities at par with any other team, which I am sure will happen now.” 

Mithali Raj poses with her familyMithali Raj poses with her family

On asked whether Mithali was tense before leaving for England and after the team entered into the final, Mithun says, “There will always be some pressure at such big events and in the finals, but that’s what it is all about — handling pressure, leading the players, keeping the dressing room calm, which I think she is quite exceptional at. But, it was just not meant to be our day, that’s all.”

“Normally when she is playing, we don’t talk to each other. It’s mostly my dad (Dorai Raj) who keeps inspiring her. Too many minds are not good,” reveals ithun.Interestingly, though Mithali was run out earlier in the game, she did not remove her pads till the last ball was bowled. “It’s a big stage and they worked hard to reach there, so obviously she was completely focused on the game till things were over,” explains Mithun. So, does he have any words of advice for his sister on her return from England? “Well, normally I don’t really talk about the game with her, I would just say ‘relax’,” he says. 

As for the Rs 50 lakh that Mithali Raj, along with all the other team members, will receive for reaching the final in the mega cricket event, Mithun admits, “I don’t really think money matters much, but it will be invested wisely.” 

Narendra Modi: Our women cricketers gave their best today. They have shown remarkable tenacity & skill through the World Cup. Proud of the team! @BCCIWomen

Priyanka Chopra: Well played #WomenInBlue, it’s been an incredible journey and you will always be an inspiration for girls across India... #WWC17Final

Shah Rukh Khan: I wish I was there to give the Lovely Ladies a hug. Be proud girls we have achieved greatness today. @BCCIWomen u made all Indians proud.

Anushka Sharma: Salute the determination & passion shown by the women in blue! Tough luck. But girls, you’ve won our hearts @BCCIWomen #WWC17

Akshay Kumar: Even Broken Hearts Can Laugh!! These Women have started a revolution & I couldn’t be more proud #WWC17Final.

Shahid Kapoor: This team has woken us all up to women’s cricket in india. Great game girls. Almost had it. #proud

Amitabh Bachchan: Until you loose, you shall never know the joy of victory ! Well played ladies .. Bhartiya Nari Zindabad !! (sic)

‘Her mother took great care of Mithali’ 
Three people are instrumental in Mithali’s career — her father, mother and her coach, late Sampath Kumar. One day, Sampath approached me, expressing his interest to coach the women cricketers and it was he who spotted the spark in Mithali. Also, since Mithali is our distant relative, and we were neighbours (at Marredpally), she used to visit my house. Mithali’s father used to bring three types of breakfast in the morning. He would come to my house along with Mithali and take both of them to the Parade Grounds for practice. He would then drive them back home, to school and again to the Parade Grounds in the evening. Her mother took great care of Mithali.
— Kanaka Harinayana, Mithali’s teacher (retired), who appointed coach Sampath 

Tags: mithali raj, dorai raj