"Always Believed We Can Change Face Of Women's Cricket": Jhulan Goswami
India vs England: Pacer Jhulan Goswami will be playing her final international game on Saturday at Lord's Cricket Ground
Jhulan Goswami is one of the finest pacers India has ever produced. The veteran of 203 ODIs, has 253 wickets to her name - highest among any women's cricketer. The pacer has a knack of getting breakthroughs with the new ball in hand, and she also perfected the act of bowling with the old ball. One of her most memorable came when Jhulan bowled one of the best deliveries in women's cricket -- an absolute jaffa to get the better of Meg Lanning in the semi-final of 2017 Women's World Cup.
Jhulan will bring down curtains on her illustrious career on Saturday as he plays her final ODI against England at the Lord's Cricket Ground. It is fitting that Jhulan would be playing her final game in Lord's, as it is the second-best venue to be playing the final game after her home ground Eden Gardens.
So, how does Jhulan see her impact in women's cricket and how does she looking back on playing alongside another stalwart -- Mithali Raj? The 39-year-old answered it all in Friday's virtual press conference ahead of the third and final ODI against England.
"Well, you know what when I started, I never thought about playing for such a long time. It was a great experience, every moment I have enjoyed and I have learnt. Obviously, Mithali and I have played together since U19 days, we had a great relation both on and off the field. But it was just bringing Team India to a different length on what it was and today it is completely different. That is a journey, we believed that we can change the face of women's cricket, we believed that we can in the top three-four teams in the world and it was a one-day process, it was a long-time process," said Jhulan while replying to an NDTV question during a virtual press conference.
"We spent a lot of hours discussing the things, we have gone through a lot of ups and downs, we always believed in our ability and it was a great experience. Everybody enjoyed every moment and we put in a lot of effort."
"I am very fortunate, I never thought about it. Coming from Chakdah, did not have any idea about women's cricket and how professional setup works. I am fortunate enough, thanks to my family and parents, they always supported me. It was a great experience for me," she added.
When asked whether there is one moment that will always stay with her, Jhulan said: "When I started, it was different. Those days, we used to represent women's cricket association of India and now, we are under the umbrella of BCCI. We are fortunate enough; every time BCCI supports us and they always come forward to support us. At the same time, best memory, when I received the maiden India cap from my captain was a wonderful feeling. Bowling that first over, that was the most important moment of my life. I always dreamt of playing for the country. In 1997, first time I saw Women's World Cup final at Eden Gardens, it was between Australia and New Zealand."
"I was a ball girl for that match, and then I dreamt that I might represent my country for the first time. That is how I started, representing the country is the biggest moment of my life," she stated further.
The Women's IPL is most likely to kickstart from next year. When asked whether she sees herself playing the tournament, Jhulan said: "As of now, I haven't decided because so far, the Women's IPL has not been officially announced. We are hopeful that it might come in the coming season. Let's wait for the official announcement and then I will decide. At this moment, I am ending my career in international cricket. I have enjoyed every time."
When asked whether she has any regrets in her career, the 39-year-old: "Regrets in the sense, I have played two World Cup finals, if we had won at least one, then it would have been very nice for me and the team. Every individual works for that goal, we played 2-3 finals, but we were not able to win, this is one such regret I have. But from where I am looking, the graph of women's cricket has only gone up. This bunch of Indian cricketers will take this Indian cricket to next level."