An eight-wicket thrashing at the hands of South Africa-W was not how the Indian women’s cricket team would have envisioned celebrating Women’s Day this year. But, this defeat marked almost an entire year of hiatus from international cricket for the Indian women.

Barring the four games of an IPL-styled Women’s T20 challenge in November last year, the players have not played a single game since their runners-up finish at the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year. Incidentally, that match was also played on Women’s Day, and had the most number of attendees for a women’s T20I ever.

This interruption couldn’t come at a worse time for the Indian team, who looked like they were up to something, having reached three world tournament finals in the last half-a-decade or so. According to reports, the team didn’t even have more than three training sessions ahead of the South Africa game, following a five-day quarantine. 

“Over the past few years we had created a rhythm, but [we are playing] after a long time. To create that rhythm again we would definitely need some time and from the next game we’d do what we, as a unit, want to do,” vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur was quick to point out in the post-match press conference.

The point that I’m trying to make here is that the Indian women’s team might struggle in the near future, but critics will have to cut them some slack. They have shown much signs of promise in the past, on which they can build again, provided they regain the lost momentum, due to no fault of their own.

Here are five records – that even the Indian men’s cricket team does not hold in their division, in order to prove my point. 

PS: Haters, who consider women’s cricket ‘easier’ than men’s cricket, are requested to kindly ignore this article

  1. Most ODI Wickets 

A bowling legend in her own right, Jhulan Goswami is nothing short of a future Hall of Fame inductee. The 38-year-old pacer surpassed Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick in 2017 to become the highest ODI wicket taker ever. She currently sits pretty on a heap of 227 dismissals, miles ahead of any active women’s player. 

Once regarded as the fastest bowler in women’s cricket, the former ICC Women’s Player of the Year continues to be a regular in the Indian team. She also doubles up as a mentor to a group of young fast bowlers on the scene. 

  1. Highest ODI partnership

Team India inflicted a humongous 249-run defeat on their Irish counterparts, during a quadrangular series in South Africa in 2017. Thanks to a record 320-run partnership between openers Poonam Raut and Deepti Sharma, the Indian women set an unachievable target of 359 for Ireland. 

The team went on to lose just one match in the tournament and finished as eventual winners of hosts South Africa. The said partnership continues to be the highest partnership in women’s ODIs. 

  1. Highest second wicket partnership in Test cricket

It was in South Africa yet again, and it involved Punam Raut yet again – India declared on a strong first innings total of 400 for six, on the back of hundreds from top-scorer Thirush Kamini and her partner Raut. The duo put up a 275-run partnership for the second wicket.

An equally dominant performance with the ball meant that the visitors emerged victorious by an innings. The famous win remains among one of Team India’s five victories in the longest format of the game. The Raut-Kamini partnership in that match has never been surpassed for the second wicket.

  1. Youngest Centurion in ODIs

Any list of cricket records in India would feel incomplete without Mithali Raj. The current Indian skipper has milestones aplenty in her glorious career spanning more than two decades.

She is the woman with most runs in the game, and the only Indian captain – male or female – to have led the side to two 50-over World Cup finals. She also the highest capped women cricketer ever, and the one with the highest number of 50-plus scores as well.

The record that places her on this list though is that of being the youngest centurion in ODI cricket, across men’s and women’s records. At 16 years and 205 days, she surpassed Shahid Afridi (16 years 205 days) to play a match-winning knock of 114 against Ireland in 1999. 

Image Credits: Nike