Kolkata: It was on the 4th of December last year that the Indian women beat their Pakistani counterparts in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup in Bangkok.
Twelve days later, when SportsCrunch had caught up with Jhulan Goswami at a press conference in the city, the legendary fast bowler, while speaking on the win and on Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana getting offers from the Women’s Big Bash League said that Indian women’s cricket was on the right track and had predicted a bright future, She definitely wasn’t wrong.
Eight months later, India almost won the World Cup with Jhulan Goswami playing a stellar role once again, with three crucial wickets that dented the English batting in the final.
If women’s cricket in India had to be picturised, then Jhulan Goswami along with her skipper Mithali Raj would have to take up most of the frame. Both Raj and Goswami (one is the leading run-getter while other is the leading wicket-taker in women’s cricket) have been pillars of the success of Indian women’s cricket and but unfortunately these old warhorses would have to leave empty-handed as both victory and history eluded the Indians by just nine runs at the end.
From being a ball-girl in the 1997 World Cup final to sitting right at the top of the ladder in the leading wicket taker’s list, Jhulan Goswami’s story is a fascinating one.
In January 2002, she made her debut against England and her figures of 2/15 in seven overs helped India cruise to a win. Gradually, this quickie of a tall stature, started to attract attention worldwide for her the pace that she generated and played a crucial role in the Indian eves reaching the finals of the 2005 World Cup.
She later was handed the captaincy and under her India won their first Test series in England. How much will this missed chance of winning the World Cup matter to her?
Well, this would remain as one of the heart-breaking losses for the Indian team as they were well on course for a win at one of point of time but inexperience cost them the match and the opportunity to script history.
Every cricketer dreams of lifting the World Cup someday but for Jhulan, well this might just remain a dream. The trophy has eluded her all her career and the story remains the same this time. But none can take away the fact that she has built a legacy for herself.
The Arjuna and Padma Shree awardee is 34 now and in the words of her captain, she’s an inspiration. With her beautiful story of her rise to the top, she has inspired many including Kainat Imtiaz, from across the border.
Imtiaz bumped into her idol few weeks back when India women beat Pakistan in their league stage encounter and confessed to the world how the lanky pacer from Chakdaha made her take up cricket.
But she would have to leave empty-handed along with her skipper Mithali Raj. But there’s no doubt over the fact that they have made us proud and can leave with their heads held high.
The 2005 World Cup final wasn’t even televised and this year’s final was watched by millions across the world. That’s one big victory for these legends. After all champions don’t always need trophies to prove themselves. Do they?