Mithali Raj was accorded a grand reception at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport as the Indian women’s cricket team captain returned home after the ICC women’s world cup heroics in England.
All the railways women cricketers, budding young players, senior cricketers and a host of Mithali’s fans thronged the airport.
There was more to cheer about. The 34-year-old on her way home from the airport stopped to meet the State Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao at his camp office. The CM announced a cash award of Rs 1 crore and a 600 square-yard plot at the posh Banjara Hills for the star player. She had been waiting a residential plot that was promised her by the State 11 years ago.
The Chief Minister has also promised a reward for Rs 25 lakh for Mithali’s coach RSR Murthy. Mithali at an impromptu ceremonial felicitation was also presented with a shawl.
“You have played wonderfully in the World Cup. We thought you will surely win the final, too. Unfortunately, we lost by a slender margin. But your team performed well and the whole nation watched your performance. Even I watched the match. You have set a record by scoring the highest number of runs. You are the pride of Telangana Hyderabad city . The government will stand by you,” Rao has told Mithali.
The CM also presented a shawl to her coach and praised him for enabling Mithali to become a world class player.
“It is for the first time that I have been driven to the CM’s camp office from the airport. That in itself is a very happy feeling for me. He (the CM) told me that he had watched the final and what was most amazing was that he knew all my world records and scores. That has given such a personal touch to his appreciation of my game,” Mithali said on her meeting the CM.
“Everyone at the camp office was eager to meet me and hear about the matches. It was a thrilling feeling to be the cynosure of so many top officials of our state. To see that my performance brings so much of joy to so many people is a humbling experience,” she added.
Mithali will also get a Rs 13 lakh reward from her employers Railways, as the Railway Minsiter, Mr Suresh Prabhu, has sanctioned the prize to all the 10 Indian team members, who have been employed with Railways.