Celebrating Jhulan Goswami, from Lord’s to Eden Gardens

From Lord’s to Eden Gardens, Jhulan Goswami‘s immense contribution to world cricket in her career at the highest level for over two decades was celebrated with gusto on Saturday, the day of her farewell appearance for India. At Lord’s, India captain Harmanpreet Kaur brought Goswami out with her for the toss ahead of the final ODI, and there were tearful scenes at the team huddle. While across at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Goswami’s home venue, plans to name a stand after her were unveiled.
Goswami has had a good finish to her long international career, which started in January 2002, as she bowled tight spells in the first two ODIs, both of which India won to seal the series with the match on Saturday left to play. The last time India won an ODI series in England was in 1999.
On Saturday, the celebrations started around the time of the toss. The outgoing England team coach Lisa Keightley presented Goswami with a shirt signed by the England players. Harmanpreet allowed Goswami to be captain, in a fashion, for a while. And then there were lots of photographs.

“Thanks to BCCI and Cricket Association of Bengal [CAB], my family coaches captains, thanks for this opportunity it’s a special moment,” she said on the official broadcast. “I started in 2002 against England [in India] and ending in England. Most important thing is we are 2-0 up in the series.

“Each and every moment has a lot of emotions. In 2017 [ODI] World Cup, we came back and fought, nobody initially thought we would get into the final, the way we played that tournament was something different. From there, women’s cricket in India slowly, gradually it picked up, and now we have our own path and we can motivate young girls to play sports and have a career in cricket.

“I have to [keep my emotions in check] because I can’t come with emotion on the cricket field. My character is ruthless; you have to play hard cricket and give your best. A lot of team-mates, people like Harman and Smriti [Mandhana], have seen me, with ups and downs, we’ve fought and stayed together through ups and downs. It’s good that the emotions come out early and after we can come back fresh for the game. I’m happy to see the way Harman and Smriti have carried this team. The way Harman’s batting has been great. She’s different, on her day it’s difficult to get her out. Some days, it’s difficult for me to get her. I’m glad with the way players like Yastika [Bhatia] and Harleen [Deol] are coming. Hope they come well in the future.”

Not long after that, CAB, Goswami’s home cricket association in India, announced their own honour for the star bowler. CAB had earlier arranged a screening of the farewell match at an auditorium in the city, with young women cricketers and CAB officials and members in attendance.

“We are planning to name a stand after Jhulan Goswami at Eden Gardens. She is a special cricketer and deserves to be with the legends,” Avishek Dalmiya, the CAB president, said. “We will approach the army [the owners of the stadium] for the necessary permission. We are also planning a special felicitation for her on the annual day.

“At CAB we give equal importance to women’s cricket and hence we see so many talented cricketers. They are of course inspired by Jhulan’s achievements. Though she has retired from international cricket we would love her to play in the woman’s IPL [which is expected to start next year].”

Snehasish Ganguly, the CAB secretary, added: “We have made her the mentor of the Bengal women’s cricket as we want to get her valuable advice. We have plans to involve her in development of women’s cricket. We also want her to play domestic cricket if she wants.”

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