Mithali Raj exclusive interview: Marriage does not cross my mind, I am happily single

Updated: Nov 14, 2018, 13:07 IST | Sundari Iyer | Mumbai

They not only experienced the thrill of seeing Raj in person at the Mumbai Cricket Association Recreation Centre in Bandra Kurla Complex, they also got a chance to throw questions at their idol

Mithali Raj
Mithali Raj

It was a dream-come-true moment for six fans when they met women's cricket icon Mithali Raj during mid-day's Meet Your Icon initiative recently. The Indian cricket star was the reason they took up cricket. They not only experienced the thrill of seeing Raj in person at the Mumbai Cricket Association Recreation Centre in Bandra Kurla Complex, they also got a chance to throw questions at their idol.

Watch Mithali Raj speak about her early days as a cricketer:

Fan Rupali Bodhe asked Raj whether thoughts of marriage crossed her mind and there was laughter. "It used to [cross my mind]... long time back, when I was very young," said Raj, unable to control her laughter. "But it doesn't cross [my mind] now when I see married people. I am very happy being single."

Mithali Raj photoMithali Raj (centre) is flanked by young fans, Siddharth Joshi (left), Tanvi Parab, Vaibhavi Pilankar, Aachal Valanju, Rupali Bodhe and Jetsun Chee (right) at the meet

Vaibhavi Pilankar, another fan, wanted to know her role when a youngster like Jemimah Rodrigues comes into the Indian team. "I would say that I am around when she needs somebody who can share the experience of dealing with pressure and high expectations. A young mind can get confused very quickly and you can lose your focus. I am around when she needs help in those aspects and in technical things," Mithali said.

Tanvi Parab asked Raj about her favourite stroke. "I don't have a favourite stroke as such, but the one which has got me a lot of runs is the cover drive," she said. Aachal Valanju was keen to know about her preparations for various tours. Raj said: "If I am going to Australia, I will try and play on bouncy wickets. If I am about to play in Sri Lanka where the pitches are slow, I would ask the groundsmen here for under-prepared wickets where the ball will turn more than expected. When it turns lesser there [in Sri Lanka], it will be much easier to negotiate."

Mithali provided some valuable tips to young Jetsun Chee on coping with negative thoughts. "Negative thoughts appear because of fear. And fear comes when you don't have enough belief or faith in your abilities. They [negative thoughts] come to me as well. You can only counter that with another thought that should be positive. I paste a few write-ups, motivational quotes in my hotel room. As soon I wake up, I read them. You should try to have positive thoughts so that they sync with your body. We sometimes don't do as expected because the body and mind are not in sync.

Siddharth Joshi wanted to know how the Indian team members bond. "We have one meal a day together. On tours, we try and have dinner together. At camps, we have breakfast together. That's the time we are together as a team because otherwise people are with their iPads or mobiles on. They don't get time to talk to each other in the bus. This is our way of bonding," Raj concluded.

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