“A prophet is honoured everywhere except in his own hometown.” This saying is so very true in the case of Indian women’s cricket team skipper Mithali Raj.
The 34-year-old Hyderabadi, who made her international debut at the young age of 16, is know all over the world as the ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ of women’s cricket for her exploits with the bat but back home successive state governments have given her the cold shoulder.
Mithali, who lead the Indian team to the 2017 World Cup final which they lost to England last Sunday, has been struggling for well over 11 years to get the plot of land (500 yards) which was promised to her by the erstwhile government of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Post the stupendous show by the Indian women in this year’s World Cup, which has captured the imagination of the nation, couple of state governments have offered goodies for their players. Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have offered DSP posts for Harmanpreet Kaur and Sushma Verma, while the Madhya Pradesh government has promised to give Rs 50 lakh for the team. However, there has been a chilling silence in the power corridors of the Telangana government. Barring a congratulatory message from Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on the team reaching the final, the government has shown no inclination to honour its ‘daughter of the soil’.
What is jarring is the fact that the state had lavished its goodies on other star players like Sania Mirza and PV Sindhu but has completely ignored the exploits of Mithali, who has been scaling new peaks each season.
The world’s leading run-getter in women’s ODIs, Mithali’s woes began way back in 2005. After reaching the final of the 2005 World Cup which India lost to Australia, she was rewarded with Rs 5 lakh and promised 500 square yards of land.
Even though the family is tight-lipped on the issue, sources close to them say that land at Quthbullapur was also identified but unfortunately nothing happened after that. “Since then Mithali’s parents (Dorai Raj and Leela Raj) have been running pillar to post to realise the promise. They met the officials several times but it was all in vain. In fact, Mithali and her mother Leela had met late YSR just a month or so before his tragic death,” the source told KhabarLive.
With N Kiran Kumar Reddy at the helm of affairs, Mithali’s parents had hoped that he would do something about it as he was a cricketer himself. However, all their hopes were dashed by the inaction of the government. “Despite several attempts, nothing happened and that left them frustrated. Mithali too had met the chief minister but still there was no progress on the matter,” the sources said.
It is also learnt that the star player was so frustrated by the government apathy that she had asked her parents to stop running around for the land. “A player cannot be running around to get what was promised to her. Isn’t it the responsibility of the government to recognise the achievements of its players and honour them?” the source questioned.