Jhulan Goswami Retirement – Eng vs Ind ODI 2022

Jhulan Goswami Retirement – Eng vs Ind ODI 2022

It was a press conference unlike any other in Indian women’s cricket. Jhulan Goswami, who will play her last international match on Saturday, had more than the usual handful of journalists there to meet her, practically, of course. The questions ranged from her favorite memories and regrets to the big one: what next. And Goswami showed the patience of a fast bowler who has run into 20 long years while dealing with them.

“For the last two years, I thought every series could be my last, especially with Covid-19 postponing cricket until 2021,” Goswami said. “I went through a lot of injuries. I took it series by series. After [2022 ODI] WC I thought maybe the trip to Sri Lanka would be my last. But during the World Cup I got injured and I was not fit enough to tour Sri Lanka. This is the last ODI series before the T20 World Cup (in February 2023) and so I thought I would go to the NCA [National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru]doing a lot of rehab and came to England for my last series.”

Goswami has been a constant feature despite the changing landscape of Indian women’s cricket and will end her two-decade career at Lord’s.

She is not yet sure to play in the Women’s IPL, which is expected to take place in March 2023.

“Leave it [women’s IPL] the announcement is officially made and then I will decide,” she said. “At this moment I am ending my career from international cricket.

“When I started, I never thought of playing for so long. Those days we used to represent WCAI (Women’s Cricket Association of India) and after 2006, [have been] under the umbrella of BCCI. I used to undertake a two-and-a-half-hour one-way train journey from Chakdaha, train and return home, then return to practice the next day. [But the] The best memory was when I was representing India… getting my India cap from my captain [Anjum Chopra] and bowl the first over of my career. It was the most important moment of my life.

“As a ball girl in the 1997 Women’s World Cup, I watched the final at Eden Gardens between Australia and New Zealand and that day I dreamed that one day I could represent my country. That’s how I started and put in a lot of effort just to represent the country mine.”

“You want to get hurt and that’s when your character is required to come back every time you fall down. Then I felt it would have been better if I hadn’t been a fast bowler. Then I wished I had been . a batter. I wouldn’t have had as many injuries”

Jhulan Goswami

“Nineteen-year-old Jhulan, when she made her debut in 2002 in Chennai, was absolutely raw,” she said. “She just wanted to bowl fast and wanted to take a wicket because she didn’t know if she would be able to continue or not. She didn’t know if her performance could be sustained or not. Her aim was to just represent India and bowl fast. It the desire to bowl fast remained with me forever.”

Goswami was part of two 50-over World Cup finals – in 2005 and then in 2017, when India lost by just nine runs. The veteran said not winning a World Cup was a regret but was hopeful for the current crop of players who would go the distance.

“If we had won one of these [two World Cup finals], it would be great for Team India and women’s cricket,” she said. “That is the ultimate goal for every athlete. When you put in so much hard work, you prepare for four years, and winning the trophy is a dream come true. Unfortunately we played three finals including T20 [World Cup in 2020] but failed to win the final. It has hurt feelings, and that’s a regret.”

When Goswami started, Indian women primarily played 50-over cricket and four-day first-class cricket. But with T20s being used as the vehicle to drive women’s cricket around the world, one-day cricket gradually faded from the calendar. As a result, the way bowlers prepare now is very different from how she did.

“As a bowler, cricket is changing day by day and there is more pressure on the bowlers because of the restrictions and how you prepare is the most important thing,” Goswami said. “You have to be skilled and that requires effort from the player as well as the team. You can’t decide to play for the next 10-12 years. You have to go season by season. You have to be fit, you have to be very strong to to take the mental and physical pressure, and have to deliver in breaking situations. Now the girls are very professional and there are decent enough bowlers in this team. I hope that the current bunch will play for a long time.”

Goswami’s career had its share of injuries. She joked that she could have been better off if she had been a batter.

“Every time I got injured, I realized that I’m going to miss the series, [and some] matches [and] had to sit back and not participate,” she said. “But that’s what a fast bowler is all about. You will get hurt and that’s when your character is required to get back up every time you fall down. I then felt that it would have been better if I had not been a fast bowler. I wished then that I should have been a batter. I wouldn’t have had so many injuries.”

With India having sealed the three-match ODI series against England – registering their first series win over hosts England since 1999 in the process – the stage is set for Goswami to make a grand exit. A good individual show is the icing on the cake.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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