It’s totally unacceptable when trolls start commenting on personal matters: Mithali Raj
Like Yusuf Pathan told us during a recent interview, “We are fast running out of adjectives to describe Mithali Raj’s achievements.” Mithali, the skipper of the Indian Women Cricket’s ODI team, recently became the first woman cricketer in the world to complete 20 years in international cricket. She was in good form during the recent ODI series held in Vadodara too, where India defeated South Africa 3-0, as she ended up as the third highest run-getter for India (88 runs in three matches, highest-66 and an average of 44). However, she seems to be equally good at tackling trolls on social media. Recently, after a troll accused her of not knowing Tamil, she wrote a tweet in Tamil, where she made it clear that she was good at speaking Tamil, her mother tongue. At the same time, she wrote, “above it all I am a very proud Indian” and dedicated Taylor Swift’s song ‘You need to calm down’ to the troll! Excerpts from a chat:
Your thoughts on Sourav Ganguly becoming the BCCI President?
I think it’s a great thing to happen for Indian cricket, and also for women’s cricket. Someone with his experience knows the challenges that players face, and he will be able to relate to it. I have heard that he has done some wonderful things for women cricketers in Bengal (as President of Cricket Association of Bengal). I am really looking forward to his stint.20 years in international cricket is a long time. How do you look back at the journey?
(Smiles) Honestly, when I look back, I don’t feel like it has been 20 years already. Even today, I feel like I made my international debut only a couple of years back! But on a serious note, it has been a fabulous journey. When I made my debut for India as a 16-year-old, I didn’t even know whether I would be picked for the next series. There were a couple of occasions when I almost decided on retiring, but something prevented me from taking that decision and I never gave up. But I never thought I would play international cricket for two decades.
Your reply to the troll who accused you of not knowing Tamil has gone viral. What prompted the response?
Usually, I don’t react much to what trolls have to say. But then, I feel it’s unacceptable when someone crosses the line. If people criticise me for my performances on the field, that is totally fine. But why comment on my personal life?
There are reports that Taapsee Pannu will be playing you in an upcoming biopic.
It is too early to comment on the film, but I am happy that a film is being made on a woman cricketer.
And what’s happening to your autobiography?
I am not a politically correct person at all, and I will tell it all, about whatever I have faced as a player, in my autobiography. So, till the time I am playing for India as a contracted player, there is no chance of that book coming out. It will have to wait.
How was the experience of playing in Vadodara this time around? You also went out for a couple of outings, isn’t it?
I am glad that we could win the series 3-0. I have always enjoyed playing in Vadodara. We also groomed a few youngsters during the series. I am glad that I could visit the exhibition of photographs by a leading sports photographer Abhilasha Agrawal. I loved it. After all, how often do you get to see an exhibition that is dedicated to women cricketers? Since we were away from home for a long time, we were also craving for homemade food and our wish was fulfilled when we were invited by Yusuf Pathan for dinner. I am a vegetarian and they specially prepared some yummy dishes for me and I was bowled over by their hospitality.
Are we going to see you in the 2021 World Cup?
We have been to the WC final twice, but the trophy has eluded us. I would love to have another shot at winning the trophy for my country. I believe it will be a more challenging assignment than 2017. teams have improved a lot. I plan to work hard on my fitness. I also feel that the future of women’s cricket in India is really bright.