Mithali Raj informed selectors that home series against England would be her last

Mithali, who captained in India in its first ever women’s T20I played in Derby back in 2006, played 89 games and scored 2,364 runs, the most by an Indian woman.

With the selection panel keen on testing young players ahead of the World T20 next year, Mithali perhaps took the decision to retire despite indicating a desire to play the T20Is against South Africa earlier.   -  PTI

Mithali Raj’s decision to quit Twenty20 international cricket about a week after making herself available for selection for the series against South Africa might have come as a surprise to many.

However, India’s One-Day International (ODI) captain had informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection panel during the home series against England earlier this year that that series would be her last.

“After the ODI series against England in Mumbai in February, Mithali informed the selectors that she would announce her retirement from T20 cricket after the series against England,” a BCCI official who was part of that meeting said. “The decision to quit is absolutely her call. As a senior player, she knows when to stop and that’s exactly what she did.”

Mithali, however, did not announce her retirement after the series in Guwahati, where she scored 57 runs in three innings, and decided to wait another six months before making a call. She even played in the Women’s T20 Challenge during the Indian Premier League in May, scoring 69 runs in three innings for Velocity.

With the selection panel keen on testing young players ahead of the World T20 next year, Mithali perhaps took the decision to retire despite indicating a desire to play the T20Is against South Africa earlier.

Mithali, who captained in India in its first ever women’s T20I played in Derby back in 2006, played 89 games and scored 2,364 runs, the most by an Indian woman, and was the first Indian to reach the landmark of 2,000 T20I runs. While she will no longer be a part of the T20I setup, Mithali will continue to lead India in ODIs.

The national selection committee will meet in Mumbai on Thursday to pick the squad for the five-match T20I series against South Africa that will be played from September 24-October 4 in Surat.