On Saturdays at Lord’s, one woman will be the cynosure. Dressed in India blue for the last time, Jhulan Goswami concludes a long and bright international career. In a virtual chat with the media ahead of the third ODI, Goswami spoke about the past, the present and why she hasn’t given much thought to the future.
What kind of emotions do you go through prior to your farewell match?
There are definitely butterflies in my stomach. I will do my mental preparation and do my best. As for emotions, the girls made me feel very special. They do their thing and try to give surprises.
You played with Mithali Raj, another hero of India for a long time. Can you take us on that journey?
I never thought I would play for India for so long. From under 19 days we were together on and off the field. We believed that with our contribution we could change the face of women’s cricket and that India would be one of the best teams in the world. It was a long process that we thoroughly enjoyed. I came from a small town; I feel so privileged to have had such a long career.
What was the best moment of your illustrious career?
I dreamed of playing for India when I was ball girl in the 1997 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Gardens. When I got my India cap from my captain (Mithali Raj) on my debut in 2002, it was a special moment.
Which captain did you enjoy playing under?
Every captain has a different style. Luckily I enjoyed playing under all my captains. They all gave me the freedom to do my own thing.
How do you rate Harmanpreet Kaur, who made his debut for India under your leadership, as captain?
She was previously the T20 captain so she has a good idea of the responsibilities. She’s doing a great job captaining the India team in all sizes and she’s in great shape too. When I made my debut for India in 2002, we had won the ODI series against England and again we won in their backyard. Smriti (Mandhana) played so well in the first ODI and then Harman took the lead in the second ODI. Harman has a different approach than Mithali.
Harmanpreet said the team would like to make your farewell series memorable.
I’ve had a good relationship with all my teammates over the years. I really appreciate the love that Smriti and ‘Paaji’ (Harmanpreet) have shown me. After the first day Smriti dedicated her Player-of-the-Match award to me, I felt special. She also said that the series should be called “Jhullu didi series”, I was humble. I wish all my teammates the best. I remember looking forward to the young Harman 13 years ago when she made her debut in India. And Harmanpreet’s 171 against Australia in 2017 completely changed women’s cricket.
You will end your international career with an IPL for women next year. Will we see you playing in the T20 league at home?
Details about the IPL for women have not been officially disclosed. I honestly didn’t call. For now I’m quitting international cricket. I have great memories on the pitch and also in the dressing room playing for India.
What advice would you give the fast bowlers of India?
Preparation plays an important role in a fast bowler’s career. Skill training is another aspect that helps one become an impactful bowler. Every fast bowler must prepare and train season by season and strive to be consistent.
It’s too early to think in that direction. At the moment I want to close my story on a high level and the focus is completely on the series. We played good cricket in the first and second ODI. I want to take a break and think about life with a fresh mind. Right now my eyes are on the game.
We reached the 2005 and 2017 ODI World Cup finals but lost both. That was really disappointing. I would have loved to have had a World Cup trophy. A World Cup takes place after four years and a team is preparing hard for such a mega event. So not having a World Cup trophy hurts.
When did you first think about retirement?
I’ve been thinking hard for the past two years. I felt frustrated with injuries. Before the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, I decided to stop and watch the Sri Lanka series. But unfortunately I got injured during the World Cup. And India wasn’t hosting a one-day series, so I decided to call it quits in England.
What was the proudest moment in your career?
Wearing that jersey with India on it and singing the national anthem before the games made me feel very special. Such experiences make your sports career so special.