At a time when Indian men’s team is struggling to get a good fast bowler, captain of Indian women’s cricket team Jhulan Goswami is terrorizing batters around the world with her pace and swing. Jhulan has been conferred Arjuna award this year and is currently the number one ranked bowler in the world according to the latest ICC World Rankings, and wants to win the elusive World Cup for the country.
In a candid chat with Zeecric.com’s Biswajit Jha, the fast bowler touched upon different aspects of women’s cricket, her personal goals and disappointments.
Congratulations on being awarded the Arjuna award this year. How’s the feeling?
It feels great. This has been a great honor, the best award for me so far and I’m going to cherish this for really long time.
You are the number one bowler in world cricket at this moment according to ICC rankings. How does that feel?
It’s really a good feeling when you see your name at the top of the rankings table. It’s a kind of recognition for your efforts. But, at the end of the day it’s winning the matches for India that matters the most.
You were not bowling well till sometime back. What kind of changes have you made to get back into the groove again?
It happens to everybody. When you are playing for such a long period these things are bound to happen. Sometimes you bowl well and sometimes you don’t. It’s all part and parcel of the game.
How would you describe yourself, as a bowler or as an all-rounder?
I am a bowler who can bat a bit. I don’t see myself as an all-rounder.
What’s your next target?
To perform well in the upcoming series and win as many matches as possible for India.
What’s the one target that you want to achieve as Indian captain?
My ultimate goal is to win the World Cup for India. That will be a dream come true for me.
Mithali Raj is the number one ranked batter. She is such a phenomenal performer…
She is fabulous. She has been a consistent performer over the years for India. I feel very lucky that she is in my team and I am not the captain who has to formulate a plan to get her out.
We have both bowling and batting number ones. But, despite that, our team has not done so well. What’s the reason?
Cricket is a team game. Unless all the players play well, we can’t win matches consistently and become number one. But, we are playing well and hopefully our team will be number one in the coming days.
What about the upcoming talent. Do we have enough players who can carry the mantle from you and Mithali?
Now, we have a lot of youngsters coming up. We have Priyanka (Roy), Gauhar (Sultana)…then some young pacers are also coming up…We have Snehal Pradhan and Nilanjana, who have good pace and are real prospects for India. Hopefully, in two or three years, we will have a very strong team.
Do you feel that there should be more bilateral series and tournaments for women cricketers? The next series is in December against New Zealand…
The more we play, the better we do. We need to play as many matches as possible. But, it’s up to the board to decide how many matches we play. It’s not in our hands. We really feel bad that we don’t get enough chances to play but since it’s not in our hands, we simply concentrate on playing good cricket.
Don’t you think women cricket needs an IPL like tournament to become popular?
It will definitely help women’s cricket. But as I told you…we can’t do anything about it. It’s for the board to decide how they want to popularise women’s cricket in India.
Are you disappointed that India could not win the T20 World Cup despite making it to the semis?
It really hurts…we came close to winning the World Cup. But in T20, you can’t do anything. It is a matter of playing good cricket on a particular day. Australia played better cricket that day and we couldn’t. It’s as simple as that.
But let’s accept the fact that women’s cricket does not get the same treatment. T20 World Cup matches were telecast live on TV only from the semis stage and your team hogged the limelight only after the men’s team crashed out of the tournament. Do you feel bad about it?
We know that men’s cricket is more popular and it was only after that they crashed out that people looked up to us to make India victorious in the T20 World Cup. Actually, before that, our matches were not telecast live on TV. So, people hardly came to know of our performances before the semis.
Did it hurt you that women’s cricket matches during the World Cup were not shown live on TV before the semi-final?
To be very honest, it did hurt…everyone wants to play live on TV. We also want our family members, relatives and fans to watch us live on TV.
Will the new docu-drama on women’s cricket help the game’s popularity in India?
It is true that women cricketers are not so popular and are not in the public memory due to lack of exposure. People recognise only those who do well. This documentary, hopefully, will help people know the women cricketers and their struggle.