Cricket

Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022: On a mission to improve the women’s game, Jhulan Goswami takes another shot at the World Cup trophy

Women's Cricket World Cup 2022: On a mission to improve the women's game, Jhulan Goswami takes another shot at the World Cup trophy

“For the younger generation to play sport in this country, they need to have role models. It’s something we have constantly struggled to do in recent World Cups,” – months after missing out on a hair away from the 2017 ODI World Cup final, says Jhulan Goswami ESPNCricinfo in an interview.

Five years later, in another interview with the same postGoswami addressed the same topic – “For me, it’s really important to be able to elevate the women’s game in my country, and that feeling has always been with me.”

With 245 wickets, Jhulan Goswami is the highest wicket taker in women’s ODIs. Twitter/@ICC

It’s obvious that her goals are pretty clear and she’s passionate about achieving them. As India begin their journey in New Zealand to go further than they achieved in 2017, 39-year-old Goswami is still bowling like a dream and leading India’s bowling attack.

This will be her last ODI World Cup and she has one last opportunity to influence women’s cricket in the country like never before. Revolution, as they say, almost always starts with trophies and India’s cabinet is currently empty, although unlike before they have faced each other twice in the last two world tournaments – reaching the 2017 ODI final. World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup and losing at the last hurdle both times.

A title win in New Zealand would do the sport a lot of good in India. But it’s not like Goswami needs the trophy to build a legacy. It’s been written in gold before with her massive achievements in the game. In 2017, shortly after the World Cup, Pakistan’s speedy Kainat Imtiaz shared a photo with Goswami on her Instagram page, thanking the Indian for the inspired to take up cricket and fast bowling.

A player across the border who raves about your career and chooses to follow in your footsteps. The story is gripping and so is Goswami’s journey.

Hailing from a small town in Bengal, the legendary pacesetter had to overcome the setup, overcome obstacles and create new landmarks for future generations to follow. Unlike now, women’s cricket had yet to reach the masses back then. To top it off, she was a fast player in the land of spinners and hitters.

Goswami decided to take up cricket when she was a ballplayer in the Australia-New Zealand final in 1997. It was not easy, however. There were several obstacles. She had an 80 km journey each morning to reach Calcutta from Chakdaha. Parents were unsure of his career choice. Could they be blamed? Women’s cricket was hardly a feasible career choice.

His trainer convinced the family of his potential and this was the start of Goswami’s reign. In 2017, she overtook Cathryn Fitzpatrick to be the highest wicket taker in women’s ODIs. Currently, she is the only female player with over 200 ODI wickets.

His legacy in the sport is already well documented. There’s no two ways about it. But his vision is bigger. It engages the country’s women and makes sports a viable career choice for them, one their family and friends approve of.

At the 2022 ODI World Cup, she has another chance to make it a reality. This will be his fifth World Cup. India are not favourites, but neither were they in 2017 or 2020. The team is built on courage, just like Goswami. With her in mind, you never know. She has already written the impossible.

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