Regarded as one of the greatest women fast bowlers of all time, Jhulan Goswami, has been around in international cricket for close to two decades. From traveling five hours by train every day for cricket practice to captaining India, she has had a wonderful cricketing career. She is tall and as fit as a fiddle. Just like wine, there is no doubt that she is getting better and better with age. As the tall and prodigious girl from West Bengal turns 38 today, we go down the memory lane and reminisce some of the interesting facets of her cricketing journey.
Hailing from a small town called Chakdaha, Goswami put in those hard yards not only on the field but also off it. She overcame a lot of societal pressure and constraints in order to take up cricket as a career since women’s cricket was not that established in the ’90s when she started out. As a 15-year old ball girl, while watching the World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in 1997 that was played at Eden Gardens, she saw Cathryn Fitzpatrick, one of the fastest bowlers of her time, and was awestruck by her bowling. That day changed her life and it motivated her to play cricket at the highest level. Little did she know that within the next 20 years, she would go past Fitzpatrick’s stellar record in ODIs.
In 2002, at just 19 years of age, she made her international debut against England in a home series, and made a mark almost immediately. Her impeccable bowling in 2006 against the same opposition in Taunton is reckoned with even today. Her ten-wicket haul remains an important milestone in women’s cricket, as it helped India secure a memorable win on foreign soil. In 10 Tests, she has scalped 40 wickets. Had Indian women played more red-ball cricket, that figure would have definitely been on a higher side.
At 5 feet 11 inches, Goswami is one of the tallest women cricketers. She bowls at around 115 to 120 kmph, which is extremely fast in women’s game. Bowling with such pace and from that height has troubled many batters over the years. Pace coupled with accuracy makes her one of the best in the business.
Jhulan Goswami has contributed immensely to the rise of women’s cricket in India in this millennium. Goswami has splendidly led the bowling attack for close to two decades now and has ignited a new spirit in the Indian team. There are umpteen records and accolades to her credit. She is the highest wicket-taker in women’s ODI with 225 wickets, she is a recipient of the Padma Shri, to name a few.
The 38-year, not old, but young pacer remains an inspiration for countless girls who have ambitions of becoming stupendous players.
We wish this legend another year full of records and milestones.
To learn more about Jhulan Goswami and her journey, listen to our Podcast here.