A few weeks after Mithali Raj announced her retirement from the game, her replacement Harmanpreet Kaur broke a huge record and passed the former captain to become the top run-scorer among Indian women cricketers in the format.
Kaur accomplished the feat in the second match in Dambulla, which the visitors won by five wickets. Harmanpreet (2,372 runs) has surpassed Mithali's 2,364 T20I runs to become India's top run-scorer in the shortest format of the game.
Following these two legends, India's Smriti Mandhana comes in third with 2,011 runs, and Jemimah Rodrigues (1,094) is in fourth place on the list of the nation's most T20I runs.
In 123 T20I games, Harmanpreet has amassed those many runs at an average of 27. The aggressive hitter, who made her debut in 2009, is the only Indian player to record a century in a T20 international match. In the 2018 T20 World Cup, she scored a century against New Zealand.
Suzie Bates, an all-rounder for New Zealand, is presently ranked first among female cricket players. The 34-year-old has played in 126 games and amassed 3380 runs so far. Raj is the only other Indian in the top 10, while Kaur is now in seventh place overall.
Kaur, who has a reputation for being a white-ball specialist, lives by "see ball, hit ball" - a catchphrase of Virender Sehwag, who is Kaur’s idol. She is a representative of the modern-day Indian women's cricketer, a member of the generation that has been the focus of commercial campaigns, celebrity endorsements, and major contracts.
Harmanpreet Kaur broke new ground by being the first cricketer from India, male or female, to sign a deal with Sydney Thunder in Australia's Big Bash League. Months later, the T20 captain became the first Indian to sign up with Surrey Stars for the second edition of ECB's Women's Cricket League.
Beginning as an all-rounder with a medium pace, Harmanpreet quickly rose through the ranks as a result of her continuous efforts. But her performance as a pacer wasn’t up to the mark. She then focused all of her efforts on raising the level of her batting, quickly emerging as a go-to batter in emergency situations. Harmanpreet became an off-spinner at her father's urging, solidifying her position as an important component of the team.
During a protracted lean period, seeing Ajinkya Rahane practise came very handy. Harmanpreet changed her game once again, adopting the virtues of patience, striking the ideal balance between boldness and caution. She claims that learning never ends.
Featured photo: AFP / SANKA VIDANAGAMA