Sports
Winning the World Cup is next target: Jhulan Goswami

By: Trans World Features/IBNS

Winning the World Cup is next target: Jhulan Goswami
From a nondescript small town in Nadia district of West Bengal to the centre stage of International Cricket as the world’s highest wicket taker among the women in ODI, it has been indeed a long and difficult journey for lanky 34-year-old Jhulan Goswami. Manik Banerjee in a tête-à-tête with the cricketer after her new feat

In May, 2017 Jhulan Goswami became the leading wicket taker (181 wickets) in the ODI in women cricket, surpassing Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick (180 wickets). She achieved this feat in Women's Quadrangular Series in South Africa.
 
Coming from a humble social background, the journey to the top echelon of international cricket where Jhulan has been honoured  with Arjuna Award and Padmashri  by the country, was not a cakewalk. It was one of hard struggle, dedication, grit, stamina and of course talent for Jhulan who captained Indian women cricket from 2008 to 2011.
 
Jhulan ,affectionately called 'Babul' at home, was born in Nadia on 25 Nov, 1982 in a middle class family. Playing cricket was not in vogue then for women and Jhulan was also  initially interested in football. But she used to watch her elder brother playing on a makeshift wicket at their courtyard in home. One day one of the regular boys was absent and she was asked to fill the gap. That was the beginning and her interest grew and after watching Women's World Cup Cricket final in1997, she  finally decided to go for cricket.
 
Jhulan’s parents also wanted her to concentrate more on studies rather than cricket. But she had made up her mind by then. As there was no cricket training facilities in Chakdah in Nadia where she lived, she had to travel daily to Kolkata  which is 65 km away from her home. Carrying on with studies and cricket at the same time  kept her on the toes throughout the day. 
 
Jhulan at the outset wanted to be batter. But seeing her height, which is much more than average Indian girls, her coach Swapan advised her to go for pace bowling. Beside bowling Julan also trained herself  as a batswoman  which is why  she is known as  "Kapil Dev of  Women's cricket in India".

She has 40 Test wickets in her name in 10 matches. Overall she has 271 international wickets in 223 games and has scored 1593 runs with three 50s . She is the highest wicket taker in WODIs going past Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick record of 180 wickets.
 
She achieved the feat during the Women’s Quadrangular Series in South Africa  and has 181 wickets in 153 matches at an average of 21.76 with two 5 wickets and 4 four wickets hauls. In ODIs she has 919 runs in 153 matches. In 2011 when India failed to win, she took 6 for 31 against New Zealand]. 

 
Excerpts of the interview: 
 
Fifteen years is a long time. Whom do you give credit for your excellence in cricket  in all these years?
 
Jhulan: My coaches, family members and my teammates. – they guided and helped me in shaping my cricket career .

Do you think winning the quadrangular series recently in South Africa  will help you in the forthcoming World Cup ?

Jhulan : It has definitely boosted our morale. But playing in World Cup is a different ball game. All of us have to be  fit both physically and mentally and perform. We have to play well in every match and any team , which has qualified for the finals, can beat other here.

In 2002 when you first played for India, you wer  one of the junior players. Now you are among the senior most players in the team . Do you  feel extra pressure for this ?    

Jhulan :Not much of pressure; but we the senior in the team have more responsibilities – specially when going would be tough.

Who in your family supported and supporting you most ?
 
Jhulan : My brothers  .

And who is  is your guiding force now ? 
 
Jhulan : All those who are supporting me including parents, brothers, coaches and team mates.

 
You have won many awards and honour . What is next target ?
 
 Jhulan:  Winning the World Cup.

 
How much is India prepared to face the challenge in World Cup?

Jhulan: We are preparing well. We have played tournaments abroad  and are having  necessary preparatory camps.

 
How much chances India have to win this World Cup?
 
Jhulan : It is very difficult to say.  As I have earlier mentioned the situation in World Cup is all different  where performing well matters in each and every match and on a given day any team can beat the other.

 
You are an an all rounder though bowling is your main forte. Where you are concentrating more-  bowling or batting?

Jhulan:  Bowling and batting both. Beside stressing on fielding as well, as fielding is also a big factor in limited over cricket.  

 
How long you want to play at international level ?  

Jhulan:  As long as I remain fit and enjoy playing cricket.

 
Do you feel the new committee to look after the Indian cricket  is taking necessary care for the women cricket in India ?

Jhulan:  They are taking positive steps.

How did you feel after making the world record as highest wicket taker in ODI ?  
 
Jhulan: I was definitely happy and at the same time relieved that I could achieve the goal before the World Cup. But I was more happy as India won the tournament there 
(quadrangular tournament in South Africa).  

Your favourite  pastime?  
 
Jhulan : Listening to music and reading books, specially books on Swami Vivekananda and Marion Jones and others which help me to tackle odd situations.    
 
 
 
Image: Wikipedia Creative Commons  and BCCI Media