India have a great chance of winning World Cup: Jhulan Goswami
If men’s cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s meteoric rise bewilders us, the remarkable journey of Jhulan Goswami is nothing short of a fairytale. From a small village in Bengal, called Chakda, this fastest bowler in women’s cricket rose to international fame with sheer determination, courage and dedication. Her superlative efforts also earned her the honour of leading the country in the upcoming World Cup, scheduled to be held in March Down Under.
In an exclusive interview with Zeecric.com’s Biswajit Jha, Jhulan reveals her plans for the all important World Cup, India’s chance in the tournament and her own journey to the top post of women’s cricket in India.
Excerpts from the interview:
How are you feeling after being named the captain of Indian women’s team for World Cup in Australia?
It is really a good feeling to lead India in the World Cup. I am feeling honoured. It’s a dream come true for me.
Do India have any realistic chance of winning the World Cup?
We have a great chance of wining World Cup this time. We have a balanced side with a good mix of experienced and young cricketers. We have several all-rounders in our team which will help us in the tournament.
Who can be the key players for the Team India in World Cup?
We have a lot of good players…Anjum (Chopra), Mithali (Raj), Rumeli (Dhar)…anyone can win matches for us on any given day. But we need to gel together as a team because cricket is not an individual game.
What are the areas that still worry you?
We have to perform well in every department if we want to win the World Cup. But fielding is still an area of concern for us. We need to improve our standard in this aspect.
What about your own performance? Your ranking has dropped in the past few months. You were the number one bowler, but now your are standing at number three.
I am satisfied with my bowling. There is nothing to worry about. As far as ranking is concerned, I don’t believe in rankings. What matters is how you are contributing to your team’s success. As long as I am contributing to my team’s victories, I don’t bother about rankings.
You are the first Bengali to lead the national women’s side. Would you like to take some tips from another great Bengali cricketer and former India captain Sourav Ganguly?
As of now, there is no such plan. But if I meet him, I will definitely talk to him.
You got captaincy after Mithali Raj was sacked from the post. Do you think that there may be some problems in the team?
No, no. Mithali is a nice person and we are very good friends, both on and off the field. She is an important team member. She is one of the best batswomen in the world.
What went wrong in the last two foreign tours, England and Australia, where the team performed poorly after clinching the Asia Cup?
Actually our fielding and batting let us down. Though Mithali performed tremendously well in batting, we grassed too many catches. And as it is said, if you drop catches, you are bound to lose matches.
So, what is the main difference between India and say, England and Australia, who are the other contenders?
In batting and bowling there is not much of a difference, but it’s fielding where we are still behind them.
Are you satisfied with the state of women’s cricket in India, which is still neglected?
Though there is still a lot of room for improvement, I am happy that of late BCCI is taking women’s cricket seriously.
Are you happy with the number of domestic matches for women’s cricket?
As I told you earlier there is much scope for improvement. We need more domestic matches to hone our skills better for the international matches.
On a more personal note, how will you describe your journey from a small village called Chakda to becoming the captain of the Indian team?
You have to be courageous…have to have a lot of determination, dedication and family support…without these you can’t progress.
Being a woman it’s not easy to play cricket in India. What are the hurdles you had to face immediately and how did you overcome them?
It’s true that I, like any woman cricketer in our country, had to face a lot of trouble when I started playing cricket. But in life you face trouble which ultimately helps you to become stronger as a person. You have to face problems to perform well in life.
Who is your favourite captain?
Sourav Ganguly for sure. He is such a passionate leader…but I also like former England captain Nasser Hussain. They have some exceptional qualities as leaders.
Do you think that captaincy, especially as a bowler, can affect your performance on the field? Do you think that bowler-captain has to face some extra burdens?
I follow a simple philosophy on the cricket field. I hardly consider myself a captain when I am bowling. I only think of taking wickets. It’s only when I am not bowling, I concentrate on marshaling my resources on the field.