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Books, plants & spring cleaning keep Mithali Raj busy when she's working from home

The cricketer also revealed how she is balancing her hobbies with fitness training.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 08.00 AM IST
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Sketching is a stress-buster​ for Mithali Raj.
Sketching is a stress-buster for Mithali Raj.
Mithali Raj, the Indian women’s cricket captain in Tests and ODIs, is at home in Hyderabad. The world’s highest scorer in ODIs (6,888 runs) is using the time to stay fit and dabble in a few other things — like reacquainting herself with her plants and reading.

In a phone interview, the 37-year-old tells ETPanache, “Fitness is getting creative as gym equipment is not available at home. I am making do with the resources I have. I’m being given a schedule I can follow by my trainer. Of course it is not close to the exercises I can do in the gym. But I am trying to do as much as I can to maintain my strength.”

1. Gaining strength
Raj credits her consistency for her two-decade, 209 ODIs long career. In quarantine, she is being consistent with her fitness regimen.

“I follow the schedule my trainer gives me every week. Sometimes he mixes up the training sessions, he gives me more hypometric [coordination related] exercises. This is so that I don’t lose out on the muscles much. In these 21 days, I can’t go without working out,” Raj says.

2. Book love
Raj enjoys reading and is indulging herself with not just one but two books at a time. “I am reading White Mughals by William Dalrymple and have started on Ruskin Bond’s short stories,” she says.

Raj loves both fiction and non-fiction. But when she is playing cricket, she prefers easy reads. “When I am playing, I try to keep the genre very easy-going and breezy. I can’t be into the book and not be into the profession I am in. Now that there is no cricket happening, I have a lot of time so I keep the genre a little intense. I read autobiographies or a book like White Mughals,” she says.

Reading is Mithali Raj’s passion.
Reading is Mithali Raj’s passion.

3. Inspirational read
A recent book that was tough to keep down and also relatable for the Indian skipper was Paddy Upton’s The Barefoot Coach.

“I just finished reading [the book]. It has a lot of things that can be used. He was the mental conditioning coach for the men’s team when they won the 2011 World Cup. He shared a lot of inputs on the journey of the Indian team to the 2011 World Cup. That book helped me to realise a lot of things as a cricketer and how things happen in terms of the management, in terms of the players. The relationship between coachplayer, manager-player, physio-player, playersplayers. A lot of in-depth reading happened and that has given a lot of perspective to me,” Raj says.

Besides reading, Raj likes to sketch. It is a stress buster for her. “Sometimes, I sketch, but not every day. I sketch random things, whatever I can get my mind into. I’m not a professional, it is just a hobby I’ve started. I am also cleaning my house,” she says.

4. Keeping busy
With cricket taking most of her time otherwise, Raj has not had time to cook. “A couple of my friends told me to get into cooking but I have not been able to get myself into the kitchen,” she says with a chuckle.

What seems to be keeping her busy amidst the lockdown are the plants in her house. “I water my plants every day which I never did earlier. My parents always looked after my house. But now as I have the time I try to make it my routine to water my plants every day,” she says.


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