Test and ODI captain of the Indian women's national cricket team, Mithali Raj, announced her retirement from international cricket on June 8. "Mithali Raj Ji, A few weeks ago, you announced your retirement from all formats of cricket, leaving fans very disheartened. First and foremost, I join crores of Indians in congratulating you on an extremely successful career, in which you made the nation proud throughout," said Modi in his letter.
"You have served Indian cricket for over two decades. You are blessed with the necessary talent, tenacity and transformative edge needed to excel over the years. This zeal has not only helped you, but also inspired several other budding sportspersons," he added.
Prime Minister Modi said that all the records broken and created by the batter, her accomplishments, which also include being the top-run scorer in international cricket, speak volumes about her abilities.
"But, at the same time, your success is beyond statistics and records. You are a trend-setter, an athlete, who has broken many a glass ceiling and a phenomenal source of motivation for others," he added.
The Prime Minister said that hundreds of young cricketers across men's and women's cricket have found in her their inspiration and role model and millions across the world enjoy her stylish and precise strokeplay.
PM Modi lauded Raj's leadership skills, terming them as 'exceptional'.
"You have mentored and groomed countless cricketers during your captaincy. I can not forget the 2017 World Cup Finals in which our team came very close to victory. During those tense moments, your calm and composed demeanour was appreciated by everyone," he added.
The Prime Minister expressed his hope that the legendary batter will serve Indian sports in times to come.
"Once again, thank you for the memories and all the best for your second innings. May it be as full of guts and glory as your first innings," he added.
BCCI Secretary Jay Shah lauded PM's tribute to the former legendary Indian batter as he wrote, "An extraordinary tribute from the Honourable PM Shri @narendramodi for @M_Raj03, one of India's most decorated sports persons ever. The PM deeply values the contribution of our athletes. The letter will motivate many more to achieve their goals and strive for excellence."
Mithali retired as the leading run-scorer in the women's ODIs. She represented India in 232 matches, scoring 7805 runs at an average of 50.68. In Tests, Mithali smashed 699 runs in 12 matches with a brilliant average of 43.68. She also scored 2,364 runs in 89 T20Is.
Mithali, who made her debut in 2002, is regarded as the greatest Indian women's batter. She captained the side to two 50-over World Cups.
At 16, Raj scored an unbeaten 114 on her ODI debut and soon established herself as a vital clog in India's batting order. In October 2019, Raj, at 36, became the first woman to complete two decades in ODI cricket.