The skipper of the Indian women’s cricket team Mithali Raj, in a candid conversation with journalist Sharda Ugra, spoke on what it means to be a woman cricketer in India and why she does not prefer to be called ‘Lady Sachin’.
“I wouldn't say I am tired of being the Lady Sachin (Tendulkar), but I would like to be known as the Mithali Raj of women's cricket. I think as a cricketer, I am sure everyone would love that compliment because everyone looks up to him because of what he has achieved and nobody yet has gotten close to it. When I started to play cricket I never wanted to be known as the Lady Sachin, I didn't want to ape him. I wanted to create my own identity in sport. And I would like people to know me as Mithali Raj,” she said, speaking at We the Women Asia, curated by journalist Barkha Dutt.
Mithali also spoke about how 2017 was a year of reckoning for the women’s cricket team.
“When we came under the BCCI, it was new for them and it was new for us because until then we never really got to interact with the male cricketers and when we see them we are also star-struck. Slowly we started to interact with them and things started to sort out,” Mithali said.
She shared an incident when Rahul Dravid was watching her bat and later came up to her to give her tips on her batting. She also said that during the World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar was in touch with the team to help them cope with the pressure.
"And now when we see them (players like Sachin and Dravid) tweeting and acknowledging the team, it feels nice, because people in India treat them like gods and when they comment on women's cricket, they (people) take it seriously," Mithali added.
When asked what advice she would like to give young people who are following or wish to follow their dreams, Mithali said hard work and struggles are the same for people across occupations.
“A lot of people ask me for advice for young people. In general, everyone has a dream and if you have goals, please do not restrict yourself to caste, creed or 'I am a woman, I cannot probably achieve it.' Dreams are dreams. Everyone has a right to dream and they should be given equal opportunity to achieve that and to excel in life. Not just success, people should also appreciate average people because everyday people struggle, not just successful people. Getting up in the morning is a struggle, I know that. Acknowledge celebrities but acknowledge your own self,” Mithali signed off.
Watch the full interview here: