It was waiting to happen. Jhulan Goswami, the Indian speedster in women’s cricket created a world record for the maximum number of scalps on ODI format of the game.
Playing against the hosts, South Africa, at Potchefstroom in the ongoing Quadrangular Series prior to the ICC World Cup for Women, the ace Bengal and Indian pacer, claimed her 181st ODI wicket, when she trapped Raisibe Ntozhake, leg-before-wicket.
The 34-year old, 5’11” lanky bowler who made her ODI debut way back on 6th January, 2002, against England at Chennai, now has a tally of 181 wickets, at an average of 21.76 and 3.18 economy rate. She also has four ‘4-wicket hauls’ and two ‘5-wicket hauls’ to her credit.
Jointly holding the record for wickets, prior to this game, alongwith the former Aussie bowler, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, the Indian legend created the new record in her 152nd appearance.
Let us now have a sneak peek five significant facts about Jhulan Goswami:
1. Speaking to me way back in August 2016, she had said, “Cricket always held an important place in India and it was more so after the Indian victory in 1983 World Cup. Television channels used to show almost all the matches and I used to watch them. The 1992 World Cup was hosted by Australia and New Zealand. I saw the live telecast of the Ind v Pak match.”
The final encounter between Australia and New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup 1997 was played at Jhulan Goswami’s home round, Eden Gardens, and she had served as the ‘ball girl’. This brought her closer to the game.
2. Jhulan Goswami was awarded the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2007. In that year no cricketer from the Indian Men’s Team won any ICC award. She was the lone Indian in the awardee list.
“That was really good. Award is actually a recognition for the efforts put in by a sportsperson. It really encourages and motivates you to do even better. Why award, even nomination is big thing. I really enjoyed the moment. Sadly, there was no winner from the Men’s team,” the ‘big’ girl told me during our interaction.
3. Post retirement of Cathryn Fitzpatrik of Australia, Jhulan Goswami is the fastest bowler in the world and has clocked 120 kmph.
When I told her about this during our interaction, Jhulan said, “Yeah I know and it really feels good. But above all India winning matches and series gives me more joy and happiness. Rhythm in the bowling and consistency are very important for me.”
4. In addition to the ICC award, Jhulan Goswami also has been conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2010 and the Padma Shri in 2012.
With a tinge of shyness on the face, the world’s highest wicket-taker said, “Every award is very important and encouraging for a sportsperson. Arjuna Award is a big one. I have been hearing from childhood days that the Government confers Arjuna Award on sportspersons who really do well in various sports. It was my dream to do good and be awarded.”
5. Jhulan Goswami has been performing exceedingly well in England as compared to any other country/venue. Of the 181 ODI wickets claimed by her thus far, 63 of them are against England from 44 games.
While interacting with me, she said with a big smile, “That is because we have played a lot of series against England. You can enjoy bowling in England. I like the cricket culture over there. I like their passion for the game and the wickets are seriously good for medium pace bowling. The weather is good, being cloudy, it helps.”
Referring to the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017, Jhulan Goswami said, “I am always dreaming about it (World Cup). For the team it is very important. We are all looking forward to 2017 World Cup. Our performance in the 2013 tournament was not upto the mark. We will put in our best efforts to do well.
Preparations have started on individual basis. We will soon have our camps. We will also play a few series against West Indies, Pakistan and other teams. We have almost one year on hand. We will plan very meticulously and implement”.
Well, the ‘Women in Blue’ are already ‘on course’ for the grand event. They have done well in all the preparatory games and is expected to take the world by ‘the storm’ in the gala event.