Dance or Cricket ? For young Mithali, it was a tough choice to make. And she decided to pick up the bat. The rest as they say is history.
Popularly known as "Sachin Tendulkar" of women's cricket, Mithali Raj, has become the highest run scorer in women's limited overs cricket.
Back home her parents are calm and cool like she is on the field. "If you give your 100% and play to your best, you will automatically break records and win matches. We only tell her to enjoy her game", they tell CNN News 18.
The remarkable performance of captain Mithali Raj and her team in the on going ICC Women's Cricket World Cup has caught the attention of the entire nation.
For many who do not know, cricket just happened to Mithali Raj.
It brings a smile on Mithali's father as he recalls how it all started. "I had put my son in cricket camp. Mithali was very lazy, so to wake her up in the morning, I used to take her along. Casually I used to play with her there. It was my friend Jyoti Prasad who spotted the talent and the potential in her. After that there was no looking back.", Durai Raj tells CNN News 18.
But, in a cricket obsessed nation, the journey as a woman cricketer was not an easy one.
Leela, Mithali's mother, still remembers the time when her daughter decided to play cricket. "How can you allow you daughter to play cricket? What if she gets an injury on her face, who will marry her? That time anyone who heard about a girl who was playing cricket, raised questions."
"I never bothered about these comments. I supported her decision. She chose dancing or cricket, for us her interest was most important. For me my daughter was achieving greater heights every game and I was proud of her. After every injury, I was worried about how soon can she make a come back on field.", she added.
Mithali's parents taught their daughter that she was no less than any one. "Once Mithali was playing with boys without helmet. She got injured and got 4 stitches on face. Next day she was on the field again for the match. She was even rewarded for this game," says Durai Raj.
Today, Mithali and entire women cricket team have become an inspiration for girls who wish to take up sports, especially cricket.
As country awaits women in blue to bring the World Cup home, we can only hope that Mithali Raj and the team will change the mindset of the people and encourage more girls to play cricket and other sports for India.
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