Bhai Dooj special: Cricketer Mithali Raj says brother Mithun always motivated her

Mithali Raj, Indian women’s cricket team captain, has her best supporter in elder brother Mithun Raj, an environmentalist with the NGO Samata. They share their sibling story, as India celebrates Bhai Dooj.

Updated: Oct 21, 2017 11:29:03

By Shreya Mukherjee

Cricketer Mithali Raj says her brother Mithun Raj, who is an environmentalist, has been her pillar of support. (Kamal Kishore /PTI)

One is a sportsperson, the other an environmentalist. Their busy careers often leave them with little time to catch up, but this is one sibling bond that’s always strong. Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, says that her elder brother Mithun Raj has always been a “supporter of most of the things” that make her happy.

Mithun Raj, elder brother of cricketer Mithali Raj, is an environmentalist by profession.

Telling us about her bond with her brother, Mithali is reminded of an episode from 2002, in her initial days as a cricketer. Now 33, Mithali was then a very young person who was dealing with some serious personal issues; the right-handed batswoman wasn’t able to focus on her game. It was Mithun who got her back on track.

A young Mithali with her brother Mithun.

“I was in Mumbai and I think he was in Visakhapatnam. He used to write me mails and call on the landline — mobile phones weren’t common at that time — motivating me to focus on my game,” says Mithali. “He said that he’d take care of the rest. I still remember how he’d say that he was there for me.”

An emotional Mithali adds, “We don’t need any occasion to celebrate our bond.”

Echoing this, Mithun, who works with the tribal rights advocacy NGO Samata, shares that the siblings have an understanding that’s beyond words. “Whenever there’s something that she can’t discuss with our parents, she’d confide in me,” reveals Mithun.

Mithali with her parents, father Dorai Raj and mother Leela Raj, and brother Mithun.

Asked to say more about their bond and something about her that nobody knows, the doting brother says, “I consider Mithali being a sister a gift in itself”, and then he quips, “She’s very dedicated, and focussed on her game, but in her personal life, she’s quite lazy — she’d unmindfully leave her things here and there. Though I don’t get to see her often, every time I enter her room [in their family home in Hyderabad], I smile, looking at the way she has decorated her room with the stuffed toys I gifted her.”

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First Published: Oct 21, 2017 11:28:38


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