Irrespective of whether you follow women’s cricket or not, you have surely heard of Jhulan Goswami. Born on 25th November 1982, in Chakdaha, a small town in West Bengal, Jhulan played cricket with friends and family and like any other kid broke an occasional window.
Any woman trying to make a mark playing cricket in the subcontinent is unlikely to have it easy and Jhulan was no different. She had to travel alone early in the morning by train to reach practice at 7:30 am. Speaking about her experience Jhulan says, “In a Bengali middle-class family, a girl is expected to be involved in extracurricular activities like dancing or singing. So, what I wanted to do was ‘unusual’. I tried to explain to them and gave them a clear picture of why I took the decision. Moreover, the distance between Chakdaha and Kolkata was not easy to cover as a school going girl on a regular basis. There was also no professional guarantee as well.”
Rarely do we associate speed with fast bowling in women’s cricket. But this is where Jhulan made the difference. Often in the quest for speed, bowlers tend to focus less on what actually needs to be bowled. But not only is Jhulan one of the fastest bowlers going around, she does so without compromising on the lines and lengths required to be bowled.
International cricket is a different game altogether. You may do amazingly well in the domestic circuit but that doesn’t guarantee a smooth sailing career at the highest level. But Jhulan was born different. At 19, she made her international debut against England in an ODI. Barely a week later, she became one of the lucky few female cricketers to play test matches. Her breakthrough season was the 2006-07 season when she helped the team register their first victory against England by making a gritty half-century in the first test and taking career-best figures of 10 for 78 in the second.
The golden period in Jhulan’s career was from 2007 to 2012. She was named ICC Women’s cricketer of the year in 2007, captained India in 25 ODI’s, became the fourth woman to reach 100 wickets in ODI. In 2010 she was awarded the Arjuna Award and in 2012 she became the second woman cricketer to receive Padma Shri.
#OnThisDay in 2002,
Jhulan Goswami graced the International Cricket.
Playing against England, @JhulanG10 took 2 Wickets in her 7 overs and India won by 8 Wickets.
The Chakdaha Express is still going strong and how 💪
📸 Getty pic.twitter.com/dy97wZOzBC
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) January 6, 2021
Success seems to follow Jhulan and records tumble whenever she plays a game. In May 2017, she became the leading wicket-taker in ODI’s when she took her 181st wicket against South Africa. On 7th February 2018, she became the first woman cricketer to reach 200 wickets in ODI. In September 2018, against Sri Lanka, she took her 300th wicket in international cricket. Till date, she is the leading wicket-taker in women’s ODI’s.
Today even after 19 years at the highest level, even at 38 years of age, despite being a fast bowler, the greatness of Jhulan Goswami lies in the fact that she still is the spearhead and the bowling icon that she was in her heyday.
Female Cricket congratulates you on completing 19 years into this beautiful and inspirational journey.