Mithali Raj, the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, became the first woman and just the third cricketer in history to play in six ICC Women’s Cricket World Cups on Sunday.
The 39-year-old, who led India in the first game of their World Cup campaign here, was caught by Pakistan’s Diana Baig off Nashra Sandhu’s bowling on Sunday after scoring just nine runs in 36 deliveries.
Mithali’s achievement insured that the record entered a new decade: former Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad played in the first six Men’s Cricket World Cups between 1975 and 1996, while Sachin Tendulkar debuted in 1992.
Mithali had already captained India at a World Cup by the time Tendulkar’s fairy-tale conclusion occurred in 2011 tournament debut in 2000.
The right-hander has now equaled Australian star Belinda Clark by captaining at her fourth ICC Women’s World Cup, with Clark’s tenure spanning from 1993 to 2005, according to the International Cricket Council.
Clark and Mithali are the only two players in history to have led their country to multiple World Cups.
Mithali, on the other hand, outstrips her fellow hitter in terms of time between first captaining her country and last doing so, with a gap of 17 years between the two.
Her World Cup career now covers more than two decades, with no woman ever having competed in two ICC Women’s World Cups 20 years apart.
Debbie Hockley of New Zealand previously held the record, having made her debut on 10 January 1982 and her last match on December 23, 2000, 24 days after Mithali’s debut.
And it is against this backdrop that Mithali, 39, finds herself. Only Hockley (45) and England’s Jan Brittin (36) have played more World Cup games than Mithali.
Raj joins England’s Charlotte Edwards, Clare Taylor, and Hockley as the only other women to have appeared in a Women’s World Cup with six appearances.