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Jhulan Goswami: India’s Pace Spearhead

Breaking the molds of norms and conserv atism, a girl from the small town of Chakda in West Bengal changed the landscape for Indian cricket. Often known as Chakda Express, Dr.Jhulan Goswami broke cricketing records and placed Women’s Cricket at the stature as never before.

Edited By : Sports Desk | Updated: Mar 1, 2024 16:39 IST
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Jhulan Goswami
Jhulan Goswami

At the pinnacle of her career, Jhulan Goswami blazed through the women’s cricket circuit as the speed queen, currently holding the top spot among the leading wicket-takers in ODI cricket history. From clinching the title of ICC Women’s Cricketer of the year in 2007 to leading the women in blue as captain, and ultimately being a crucial part of Team India’s runner-up finish in 2017, her journey has been nothing short of a thrilling roller coaster ride. 

At a towering height of 5’11”, she commanded attention and exuded an aura of intimidation, capable of striking fear into opponents. However, her fierceness was a unique blend – while she dominated the field with her unmatched intensity, she wasn’t one for sledding. Instead, she channeled her inner quirkiness, relying on the precision of her line and length to outwit batters and leave a long-lasting impression.

Jhulan Goswami: The Beginnings

15 years old Goswami started playing cricket defying the norms in the era of 90’s. Coming from a family that never played any sport as an athlete she made sure her family understood her hustle and tussles. She generally gives due credit to her liberal grandmother who stood as a pillar for handling the silent whispers of orthodox conventions of society. Her grandmother truly instilled in her the essence of genuine independence.

Goswami used to board an early morning train around 5 AM to reach the playground in Kolkata for her training sessions. Amidst the hustle and bustle of rigorous training, she found moments of joy and opportunities to gain knowledge and new acquaintances.

Coach who dreamt for Jhulan Goswami

She later found herself accidentally as a ball girl in what was just the beginning of her extraordinary journey. Under her first Coach Swapan Sadhu’s tough exterior lay a heart of gold, caring for every budding talent like his own. Despite various obstacles and missed sessions, he never gave up on them. When her coach discovered Jhulan’s travel struggles, he didn’t hesitate to step in, visiting her home to change her parents’ minds. With his unwavering dedication, he shaped her into India’s fearsome pacer, a story fuelled by resilience, mentorship, and a dash of unexpected twists.

Achieving new heights

In time, Goswami made her mark on the international arena, securing her spot in the Indian Women’s team for the ensuing decades. Her pacing style and commitment gave her the name ‘Chakda Express’. 

Starting just as a professional bowler, Dr.Goswami gradually earned the reputation of India’s leading all-rounder, making handy contributions with the bat lower down the order. Alongside former skipper Mithali Raj, she forged a world-record seventh-wicket partnership worth 157 against the hosts at Taunton in 2002. Her career-best and record breaking 10-wicket haul at the same venue four years later propelled India to a historic Test series win on foreign soil

In 2007, Goswami bagged the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award. Soon after, captaincy beckoned, though with a moderate success rate. Two years later, the Government of India honoured her with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2010, followed by the Padma Shri, adding further feathers to her cap.

Jhulan: The Brand Ambassador of Women’s Cricket

Dr.Goswami along with her former skipper Mithali Raj are considered brand ambassadors of women’s cricket. They made sure that sheer commitment and true talent could break the barriers and achieve anything that one dreams.

Goswami announced her retirement in September 2022 while playing her final match against England at the iconic Lord Stadium, winning by 16 runs. She may have left the field but her commitment to women’s cricket has not. Her mates still adore her with the nickname- ‘Dr.J’. These days, Dr. Goswami lends her expertise and guidance to budding women cricketers who are in dire need of assistance to unleash their true potential.

Dr. Goswami in an interview once said “I want to give back to the game who made me whomever I am.’’ 

Also Read: P.T. Usha: The Queen Of Indian Track And Field

First published on: Mar 01, 2024 04:39 PM IST

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