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Saluting Jhulan Goswami


Jhulan_Goswami_India_Women_CricketFor a long time, women have mostly been treated worse than men in India. The case is no different with the religion known as cricket. While men’s cricket has kept growing – with players earning huge amounts of money, reputation and fame – their female counterparts have struggled to get by. Women’s cricket has for long been in the shadow of the men and hence we haven’t seen much of it either on TV or being talked about in the media. 

While the IPL has done well to recognize some women cricketers, there isn’t much that people know about them. There is little to no coverage or information of the ongoing quadrangular series.

However, one long standing torchbearer of women's cricket in India has forced everyone to turn their eyes towards her, and women’s cricket, in the middle of the IPL. The tall, lanky fast bowler Jhulan Goswami became the leading wicket taker in Women’s ODI Cricket, going past Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who has taken 180 wickets. 

India’s fastest bowler and former captain, Jhulan Goswami achieved the feat in the ongoing quadrangular series underway in South Africa. Goswami now has 181 wickets from 153 matches at an average of 21.76 with two 5-wicket hauls and four 4-wicket hauls. 

Goswami has also featured in 10 Test matches and 60 T20Is for the Indian women’s team. And it hasn’t just been her bowling that has been doing the damage and earning her name at the International stage. She is adept with a bat in hand and has been making notable contributions with the willow.


While she has made her way to the extreme top, her early days gave no prophecy of her meteoric rise. Hailing from West Bengal, most of Goswami’s younger days were spent at her aunt’s place in Chakdaha, a tiny village in Nadia district of West Bengal, in the company of her cousins and their friends.

In a state known for their love for football, Goswami was no exception. She was fond of Maradona and Argentina. That was the sport she mainly used to follow. Cricket was more like a daily soap. 

Soon, she would assume the position of a ball-girl as her cousins and friends played cricket. She would throw the ball back every time it went past the boundary line. She continued with it and ended up as a ball-girl in the 1987 World Cup final of Women’s cricket being played at Eden Gardens. 

After watching such legendary figures of women’s cricket like Belinda Clark, Debbie Hockey and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, she decided to make her career in cricket. 


Goswami started her coaching under a strict and no-nonsense coach. She made the most of her height and build by picking up fast bowling, the path less taken by most Indian cricketers.

While Goswami impressed everybody in the West Bengal cricketing circles with her ferocious pace and dedication, it was her Under-19 debut that forced the bigwigs to take notice. 

The biggies of Indian cricket, Maharashtra, were set to take on the minnows West Bengal. Maharashtra were firm favourites and had planned a rout. But as it panned out, a ferocious spell up top from Goswami put them in spot of bother, reeling at 17/5. And this was after she had scored 30 odd with the bat. Signs were shining bright and shouting loud; Indian women’s cricket had found a star for future.

As anyone would have guessed given the impact, Goswami was rewarded with her senior Bengal debut later that year and was followed by an East zone call-up soon after.

Despite East zone being a weak team, Goswami left a lasting impact on the opponents. After consultation with her coach, she was soon onboard with the Air India Sports Promotion Board in 2000.

Two years later, Goswami made her ODI debut against the England women’s team at Chennai. Goswami donned the famous No.10 jersey. Despite being a Sachin Tendulkar fan, the number was inspired by her sporting hero Maradona.

Although Neetu David gave the maximum returns with 4 wickets, it was Goswami who shook the English top order, picking up 2 wickets & giving away just 15 in 7 overs. Her Test debut now awaited and within a fortnight, Goswami had donned the whites for India.

In the only Test, though Goswami finished wicketless, her pace and accuracy shook everyone and was widely talked about. She played 9 more Tests and ended with 40 wickets.


The 2006-07 season became special for Goswami as she helped the Indian women’s team with their first Test series triumph over the England women’s team. Later, she was awarded the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award in 2007 by MS Dhoni.

Spurred by the growing recognition and returns, she went from strength to strength and became the Indian captain. She followed it up by receiving the Arjuna Award in 2010 and being honoured with the Padma Shri in 2012.

Goswami has been phenomenal against all top teams. Four of her best spells have come against the big teams in women’s cricket: Australia, England and New Zealand.

Goswami’s best ODI figures were against New Zealand as she ripped through 6 batters. But probably her best spell came against England as she sent them to the cleaners with her spell of 5/16. In Tests and T20s, her best came against England (5/25) and Australia (5/11) respectively.

Goswami has been brilliant across formats and stands tall as a role model and a source of inspiration for women in the country to not just pursue a career in cricket but anything of her choice.

In men’s cricket we often talk about players having come from small towns. This lady is an example of the same in the women’s circuit and that is why her achievements are even more significant.

She dreams of winning the 2017 World Cup and we all sincerely hope she manages to fulfill it, just as she fulfilled her earlier dream of being an international cricketer.


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