Mithali: A just reward for relentless effort

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Monday, November 20, 2000, 19:00 [IST]
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Mithali Raj is, without a vestige of doubt, the brightest prospect on the Indian women's cricket horizon. Undoubtedly the most fluent bat on display, Mithali Raj disperses a kind of 'feel good' sense amongst her teammates.

When she is around at the crease, she makes seemingly good length deliveries mystically find the ropes, such is the gift possessed by this abundantly talented kid, who most definitely will have to find herself in the thick of things if India are to lift the Cup.

All of this, though, has come at a price - the price in the form of relentless effort.

Mithali took to cricket at a tender age of eight. She was, initially, introduced to cricket by none other than former Hyderabad fast bowler Jyothi Prasad. Mithali as a kid used to accompany her brother to cricket camps and Prasad spotted her talent there. She often displayed uncanny keenness and flair for the sport.

Taking a quick note of this Jyothi Prasad let Mr Dorai Raj (Mithali's dad) know that it would be more paying if they invested their time and energy on this kid than on her brother. From there on, it was a one-point agenda.

As much as Mithali needs to be commended for her achievements thus far, the role of her coach late Sampath Kumar and that of her parents are not to be waived off.

Not everybody is fortunate enough to get the kind of coach of the class and calibre of Sampath Kumar. Although a very unassuming character, Sampath is a 'dream coach'. He expended all his energy on his wards and when he spotted exceptional talent he went all out to groom the ward. Mithali was one such case.

His intentions for Mithali were so high that he had told her parents that Mithali should be ready to do service for the country at as tender a age as 15. When her dad quipped, "don't you think we are expecting too much off her," he told him "if we prepare for 15 she will definitely make it by 17". And Bingo, that is what happened. Mithali narrowly missed making it to the Indian squad for the 1997 World Cup when she was 15 but two years down the line she made it to England in 1999.

Although her coach Sampath was not around for the big day to witness his prodigy don India colours, her parents vouch for his telling role in their daughter's cricketing life. After his demise she now trains under Ganesh, a former Ranji player. He too puts in a lot of effort with an intention to produce a world-class cricketer.

Mithali's parents too deserve a lot of credit for their daughter's cricketing achievements. Day in and day out they are at her side giving her all the supports she requires, so much so that cricket has become a way of life for them.

Talking of Mithali herself, she is one dedicated kid! She virtually breathes cricket and has poured in loads of dedicated time and effort towards achieving her goals.

That apart she takes a lot of interest in movies, dance and likes to keep in touch with her friends over the net. She basically prefers to stay at home as socialising doesn't come naturally to her.

takes this opportunity to wish her all the very best in her endeavour to set and achieve lofty standards.

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