Once, she struggled much like many youngsters who possess talent but not the clarity whether they’d get to represent the team for which their heart beats. Today, she is the highest wicket taker in Women’s Cricket. In a country that despite countless discussions and valid reasons about equal representation of genders continues to salivate after its male idols, Jhulan Goswami is our equaliser.
The one who strove past countless hurdles to play her hand in solidifying an often ignored sport where it comes to women’s participation in the country.
Jhulan Goswami is more than a legend of the game; she’s perhaps a strong reason today why plenty of girls take to fast bowling, interestingly in an era where not just pacers but also spinners enjoy a stronghold over the batters.
But few things are as important as the comeback of the matchwinner who goes by the name of ‘Chakada Express.’
The last that Jhulan Goswami appeared in a white-ball contest for India was in the ICC Women’s ODI world cup contest against Bangladesh in March, earlier this year.
In what was a terrific victory for India, one that the Mithali Raj-led side won comprehensively by 110 runs, Jhulan Goswami was at her usual best.
In taking a 3-for in just 7.3 overs, the lanky right arm medium pacer conceded no more than nineteen runs.
This contest, much like the few sparks of individual brilliance such as Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana’s centuries in the West Indies game or the fluent starts that Yastika Bhatia gave on occasions and Meghna Singh’s genuine pace were the only occasions where India seemed exulted. For the rest of the tournament, and remember it was both Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami’s last ODI world cup, didn’t have great memories.
Having said that, all eyes now await the start of the much-talked-about tour of the women to England, where the fearless white-ball side are to lock horns with a unit that has plenty of matchwinners.
Some among them blazing centurions. Think Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Danielle Wyatt. Others, a captivating bandwagon of remarkable bowling talents especially when you think of the likes of fast bowling tearaway Issy Wong, off-spinner Emma Lamb (who can also bat), and Sophia Dunkley, who’s primed to be among the most dependable batters in the contemporary era of the women’s game.
While surely playing against a side like England can never really be any easy, it isn’t that India are going to Her Majesty’s Kingdom to merely compete. Great Britain is, after all, the land where Mithali Raj’s side famously reached the finals of the mega 2017 Women’s ODI world cup only to run into a certain Anya Shrubsole.
So compelling and bewildering was that spell of medium pace bowling by Shrubsole, the one who tore into a batting order that with names like Mandhana, Harmanpreet, Raut and Mithali was never (any) light that even the great Jhulan Goswami would’ve reserved praise for England’s bowling prowess despite being rendered heartbroken (as understandably so).
Having said that, there’s more to the impending India women’s tour of England than meets the eye; it has already begun to make news that post the third ODI against the Heather Knight-led side, Jhulan Goswami, 252 wickets in fifty over cricket, is all set to bid adieu to the sport.
That event shall, sad that it may be for fans, bring curtains to a glorious career that boasts of 308 wickets in white-ball international cricket for India, a world record in itself.
Furthermore, here’s what Espncricinfo had to say about the itinrerary of the series:
India play three T20Is in England on September 10, 13 and 15, followed by three ODIs – part of the ICC Women’s Championship – on September 18, 21 and 24.