“The Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is truly something special in my career and I am really grateful to each and every one who has supported me over the years,” said Mithali Raj on Wednesday.
“I feel this prestigious award is a recognition for women’s cricket itself in India. The ignorance about women’s cricket which was there when I started playing the game is not there any more thanks to the efforts by many, especially the BCCI,” Mithali said in a chat with The Hindu after the official confirmation of her getting the Award.
“To be in the company of such illustrious athletes who got this award also makes me feel great,” she said.
“I am sincerely grateful to BCCI honorary secretary Jay Shah, president Sourav Ganguly, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, my employers Indian Railways, all the coaches in different phases of my career, my seniors — who played before me and were an inspiration for me to play the game with such passion — fellow players and most importantly the support staff for its untiring efforts,” she said from Pune.
“This is a huge motivation especially when I am chasing my dream to win the World Cup for India next year in New Zealand. That is one trophy which I have been longing to win,” Mithali said.
“I dedicate this award to my parents for their wonderful support, especially in my early days when not many took women’s cricket that seriously,” she added.
Mithali’s mentor-cum-coach R.S.R. Murthy said it was one of the best days of his life. “She truly deserves this and I hope it will only inspire her to keep going and bring more laurels to the country,” he said.