It might seem like no one can get the better of Virat Kohli these days. But try telling Mithali Raj that. The captain of the Indian women’s cricket team just beat Kohli to this year’s Padma Shri award.
Since making her India debut in 1999, the 32-year-old has represented the country in 153 ODIs, 10 Tests and 47 T20 internationals and she’s pleased to receive the honour.
“It is a nice way of appreciating your efforts. When I started playing cricket, people were not even knowing that women’s cricket existed. And from that phase to today where people would want to follow women’s cricket, I think we have come a long way.”
She was also happy to pip Kohli to the award. “Honestly when I was pitted against Virat Kohli, I gave up because when you compare us with men’s cricket then we think that we may not get it. So I was not expecting it, but it came as a pleasant surprise,” said Mithali.
Apart from Mithali, Indian shuttler PV Sindhu, hockey team captain Sardara Singh, women’s hockey player Saba Anjum and ex-volleyball player Arunima Sinha, who is now a mountaineer, are the four other sportspersons who won the Padma Shri this year.