Telangana showers Mithali with awards

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao announced a cash award of Rs 1 crore and a house site of 600 square yards to be allotted toMithali Raj in the posh Banjara HIlls locality of Hyderabad.

Indian captain Mithali Raj on arrival at Shamshabad Airport in Hyderabad on Friday.   -  G. Ramakrishna

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao announced a cash award of Rs 1 crore and a house site of 600 square yards to be allotted toMithali Raj in the posh Banjara HIlls locality of Hyderabad.

The announcement was made personally by the Chief Minister when the Team India captain was driven straight from the airport to the former's residence by Sports Authority of Telangana State chairman A. Venkateshwara Reddy on Friday evening.

"This is a fantastic gesture and a truly unforgettable one. The best part was that honourable Chief Minister showed a lot of interest in our performances and made a lot of enquiries about what more is needed to give a new direction to the sport in the State," Mithali informed Sportstar.

"Yes, this is a new kind of experience for me. If you remember, when I came back in 2005 after leading India to World Cup final in South Africa, there was no one to receive me except my family members," Mithali said.

"Maybe, this was because the entire World Cup was televised live across India and also because of the fact that the BCCI has taken over the sport since 2006," a smiling Indian captain said.

"I was really glad when the Chief Minister told me that he watched the entire final. In fact, even the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said he watched the sport. This is something really great as it is not just the average cricket fan who followed our fortunes but celebrities from every walk of life," Mithali said.

Significantly, the Chief Minister also announced a cash award of Rs. 25 lakh to MIthali's coach, R.S.R. Murthy of South Central Railway, who accompanied her today.

"I must thank Murthy Sir for all the support at critical junctures in my career, especially in the last few years. He has been a source of inspiration, friend and a real mentor," said Mithali, who is also an officer in the SCR.

Earlier, utter chaos prevailed as Mithali arrived at the Hyderabad Airport from Delhi as there were no proper arrangements to receive the champion cricketer.

Even Mithali's parents, Dorai Raj and Leela Raj, were seen struggling to leave the airport with their daughter as crowds thronged the airport to get a glimpse of the famed cricketer.

Yet, a composed Mithali sported a smile when she finally boarded the car safely.