New Delhi, Oct 11: Prolific batswoman and inspiring captain of India women's cricket team, Mithali Raj, during an interaction with media stressed the importance of educating the girl child.
The 34-year-old cricketer, attended an event in New Delhi, on the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child where she was joined by legendary India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, the UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.
"As a sportsperson, I believe gender doesn't matter," said in her opening remarks.
Several female sportspersons also participated in the event to participate in the event and discussed the role of sports in the empowerment of girls.
It was during the interaction with the panellists when Raj revealed how Tendulkar has been an inspiration to her and her teammates. The highest run scorer in the women's ODI cricket even revealed how Tendulkar called her up when he completed 6000 ODI runs in international cricket.
"He (Sachin) called me up after I touched the milestone of 6000 ODI runs and advised me not to stop. Before the Women's World Cup final, I approached him so that he can give some pep talk to the girls before the big match and he was there for us."
Talking about how lucky a bat gifted by the former India captain was for her, the Hyderabad girl revealed she scored loads of runs from it.
"He actually gifted me a bat and I scored so many runs in an English summer this year from that bat. That is still dear to me," Mithali revealed with a sparkle in her eyes.
Mithali was in top form in the ICC Women's World Cup this year and led her team from the front. She completed 6000 ODI runs during the 50-over global tournament, that was held in England and Wales.
While talking about the importance of educating a girl child the Indian women's captain said, "Education is primary for the overall development of a girl child so that should be a priority. Education will help them become aware and rest of the things will fall in place automatically."
Mithali further stated, "Safety of a job has always ensured the girl athletes to persuade their families and parents to not force them for getting married early and they could concentrate more on their career due to that."
Mithali also batted for a proper infrastructure and safety measures for encouraging girls to get into the field of sports.
The cricketer also suggested a slight addition to the government's flagship programme 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.
"Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Beti Khelao could be the new tagline," added Mithali.
When asked about how the Indian Women's cricket team keep themselves fit, Mithali revealed they go through the same set of tests men's cricketers go through.
"Entire world was surprised after Mithali and Company reached the final of the Women's World Cup but not me. I have seen them work hard so I knew they might be the finalists," said Tendulkar.
Sachin also appealed the parents to stop discriminating between boy and the girl child. Girls are equally talented and can places if they are provided favourable atmosphere. Appealed the girls to keep dreaming big and do not give up easily.
"We insulate girls too much but we should give them the freedom to make mistakes because that is how they learn," said the highest run-getter in international cricket.