Former Indian skipper Mithali Raj has become the first woman cricketer to have an international career lasting more than 20 years.
She achieved the feat as she stepped on the field during the first ODI of the three-match series between India and South Africa at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara on Wednesday. She scored 11* as India won the match by eight wickets against the Proteas.
Mithali, who made her ODI debut against Ireland on June 26, 1999, has completed 20 years and 105 days of her career in the 50-over format. She is also the only female cricketer to have played ODI cricket for over two decades.
The right-handed batter holds the record for playing the maximum number of ODIs in women’s cricket. She has played 204 ODIs till now and is followed by England’s Charlotte Edwards (191), Jhulan Goswami (178), Alex Blackwell (144) of Australia.
The 36-year-old has represented India in 10 Tests and 89 T20Is as well. Last month, Mithali retired from T20I cricket
Overall, legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for having the longest international career — 22 years and 91 days. He is followed by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (21 years and 184 days), Javed Miandad (20 years and 272 days) of Pakistan, with Mithali coming in at the fourth spot.