'The point is no one can take-away the fact that she has by far been the greatest batter for India, forget the controversies.'
Former India captain Shantha Rangaswamy on Tuesday said that Mithali Raj took the right decision by retiring from T20 Internationals as it will help her focus more on the 2021 ODI World Cup.
Besides being the leading run-getter ODIs, Mithali has scored the most number of runs for India in the shortest format.
"See, there was lot of hue and cry about her inclusion or non-inclusion (in the T20 side), but in T20 also she was the first Indian to score 2,000 runs. It is only after that Rohit Sharma and Virat (Kohli) did it. The point is no one can take-away the fact that she has by far been the greatest batter for India, forget the controversies," 65-year-old Rangaswamy said.
"It is in our system that whoever succeeds, we try to pull them down. In-fact I was waiting for this announcement because we need her for the ODIs and she needs to conserve her energy (as) she is not going any younger. I think, she should have announced her retirement sometime back but happy that she has taken this decision," added 65-year-old Rangaswamy who played 16 Test matches.
Rangaswamy backed Mithali's decision saying that the shortest format of the game could be energy sapping.
"She had problem with her knee, but came out of it because of her fitness regime. I think it is a good decision because T20 can be energy-sapping because it calls for very quick action and things like that.
"So, I think, she has taken the right decision and I am happy and would like to place on record my appreciation of all the services she has rendered even in the T20 format," added the former women's captain.
Mithali said she wants to focus on her ODI career, keeping in mind the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.
Her announcement came as a surprise, considering that she last week made herself available for the home series against South Africa, beginning September 24.
Former India women's team head coach Tushar Arothe said that Mithali has opened doors for youngsters with her retirement.
"Retirement is up to an individual. She has been a top performer and now she can concentrate on one format (ODIs) and that will be beneficial," Arothe said from the United States.
"She has (now) opened the doors for youngsters," he said and recalled that Mithali gave "valuable inputs" when he was the head coach and there were many things budding players could learn from her.
When India had reached the final of the ODI World Cup in 2017, Raj was the skipper while Arothe was the coach.
Congratulatory messages also poured in on the social media with former players Australian Lisa Sthalekar and former India international Anjum Chopra praising the veteran batswoman for her immense contribution to the game.
"Congratulations Mithali! Well played! Your contribution to Indian cricket has been immense and will continue to remain; even as you quit the T20 format. @M_Raj03 @BCCI," tweeted Chopra.
"One of players who has taken the women's game to another level. Though surely @M_Raj03 you are looking for one last swan song in 50 overs?!" said Sthalekar.