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Stellar run-getter: On Indian cricketer Mithali Raj's feat - THE HINDU

Mithali Raj has done much more than just put her stamp on the record books 

Mithali Raj has been the torch-bearer for women’s cricket in India for 18 years. Ever since her international debut as a 16-year-old in a game against Ireland in 1999, she steadily grew in stature, batting with aplomb, scoring critical runs and shepherding her team. Today she is a colossus, and it is not surprising. Consistency has been her second skin and confidence a steady ally. When she scored 69 runs against Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup game at Bristol on Wednesday, she became the first woman to scale the 6000-run peak in one-day internationals. It was a milestone that proved inevitable once she went past the previous record-holder for the highest number of runs, England’s Charlotte Edwards with 5992. Ironically, Raj was fated to succeed at the individual level and also suffer the agony of her team’s defeat. It is a trope that has shadowed her for the most part, though in recent times she has led a squad that displays vigour and has snatched some key victories. During a large chunk of her career, she remained the team’s spine, much like how Sachin Tendulkar was in his early years before Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly stepped up. Now 34, she can breathe a touch easy, with the rise of Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut giving the team punch.

The world records for highest runs and wickets are now both held by women in the current Indian squad – Raj (6028 runs) and Jhulan Goswami (189 wickets), respectively. It is a rare occurrence and it needs to be celebrated more wholesomely. In the men’s game, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev had led the Test batting and bowling charts, respectively, but at different points in time, not together. The achievements of Raj and Goswami, and the exploits of Mandhana and Raut might give the impression that Indian women cricketers have it easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years, women cricketers have fought patriarchy, toiled at private academies and yearned for frequent international matches. The Board of Control for Cricket in India only belatedly, and that too under pressure from the ICC, embraced women’s cricket — and its support to the women’s game is still far from adequate. For instance, Raj, a regular in the Indian squad, has had the opportunity to play 183 ODIs — compared to Yuvraj Singh’s 304, even though he made his debut a year after her. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, Raj has been an eloquent spokesperson for her sport, detailing the challenges and busting prejudices and stereotypes. Recently she swung a heavy bat for gender equity when she rightly snubbed a reporter, who asked about her favourite ‘male’ cricketer. Raj’s riposte was terse, but captured the arc of stereotypes a woman cricketer has to fight: “Do you ask the same question to a male cricketer? Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” Maybe we should.

IMPORTANT WORDS FROM ARTICLE & THEIR MEANING

1) Colossus(Noun) (प्रकांड व्यक्ति) : kuh-los-us
Meaning -a thing or person that is very great/large in some quality or quantity
Synonyms -  Giant, Mammoth, Blockbuster, Amazon
Antonyms - Lightweight,  small, negligible, dwarf
Example -The event is a colossus in the industry, with more consumers present at the fair than any other fashion retail event.

2) Riposte (Noun) (जवाबी हमला):    ri-pohst
Meaning - quick, clever reply to something that someone has said
Synonyms -response, reaction, answer back
Antonyms - ask, question, inquire
Example -He is  known for having a brilliant riposte to nearly any insult
3) Aplomb (Noun) (अभिमान): a-plomb
Meaning -  confidence and skill showed, especially in a difficult situation; keeping your cool
Synonyms -  Assurance, self-confidence
Antonyms - Anxiety, insecurity, low confidence
Example - Despite the ice storm, the police officers went about their duties of protecting and serving the public with aplomb.

4) Stellar(adjective) (तारकीय, अद्भुत):  stel-er
Meaning -pertaining to the stars
Synonyms - great, grand, superior
Antonyms- Minor, lousy, inferior
Example -The lawyer’s closing argument was stellar and really tipped the court in his client’s favor.

5) Terse (Adjective) (संक्षिप्त):  turs
Meaning -  A very short statement or remark
Synonyms -  Short, concise, brief, laconic
Antonyms - Lengthy, garrulous, ambiguous
Example - Because they had little information on the suspect, the police issued only a terse statement to the media.

6) Eloquent  (Adjective) (सुवक्ता)  :   el-uh-kwunt
Meaning -having or showing the ability to use language clearly and effectively
Synonyms articulate, fluent, expressive
Antonyms -dull, dumb, speechless
Example - Although James was a brilliant writer, he was not an eloquent speaker and always stuttered in front of a crowd.
7) Swung  (Verb) (झूलना): swuhng
Meaning - Past form of swing which means move or cause to move back and forth or from side to side
Synonyms -  swayed, dropped, hung
Antonyms - avoid
Example - The policeman grasped the thief by the shoulder and swung him around.

8) Agony (Noun) (व्यथा): ag-uh-nee
Meaning - intense pain or suffering
Synonyms - misery, distress, affliction, torture 
Antonyms -  Comfort, happiness, delight
Example -From the woman’s pained expression, it was obvious she was in agony.

9)  Trope  (Noun) ( एक शब्द या अभिव्यक्ति का एक आलंकारिक या रूपक उपयोग): trohp
Meaning - commonly used technique or idea generally used so often that it becomes expected or a cliche
Synonyms -image, figure of speech, metaphor
Antonyms -  concrete
Example -It is nothing but the media trope so that the bollywood award functions get so much attention.

10) Snubbed  (Verb) ( अनदेखा करना, या तिरस्कार करना): snub-ed
Meaning -to treat with disdain or contempt, especially by ignoring
Synonyms - repulsed, affronted
Antonyms - acknowledged, accepted, respected
Example -He snubbed his old friend among his new friends.


Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension, try to answer the following questions-
  • Which example has been given in the passage to express the eloquence of Mithali Raj?
  • ''Consistency has been her second skin'', what do you understand by this phrase given in the passage?
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