We have all grown up awestruck with master-strikers like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri or Sachin Tendulkar. But never has a woman cricketer inspired the nation as much as what Jhulan Nishit Goswami, has done for today’s generation. A woman cricketer par excellence – she in indeed an inspiration for all future aspirants of the game.
Born on the 25th of November, 1982 in Nadia, West Bengal, she developed the liking for serious cricket much later when she turned 15 years of age, being an avid fan of football till then. The love for cricket materialized into reality much later when she saw the 1992 Cricket World Cup on TV and later was charmed by Belinda Clark’s victory lap after Australia vs New Zealand 1997 Women’s World Cup final. However, the journey wasn’t easy!
Her parents wanted her to concentrate on studies. But Jhulan wasn’t the kind to give in. She would travel all the way to Kolkata for cricket training. Getting up at 0430am each day so that she could catch the local train to the big city.
In 2002, at the age of 19, she made her debut in a one-day International Match against England in Chennai. In the same year, she also made her test debut against England. Her T20 debut was in 2006 in Derby.
Jhulan guided Indian Women’s Cricket team to their first Test series win against England in 2006–07. This itself was a big milestone for the squad. In 2007, Jhulan was a member of the Asian squad in the Afro-Asia tournament in India.
She held the captaincy of the team from 2008 till 2011.
Her achievements –
• With a bowling speed of 120km/hr, the pacer, at one point in her career, was the fastest female bowler in the world
• On 7th February 2018, Jhulan became the first woman cricketer to reach 200 wickets in one day cricket.
• She was also adjudged ICC Women Cricketer of the Year in 2007(when no Indian male cricketer bagged an individual award).
• Under her captaincy, she led the team to third place during the World Cup in 2010. She has also has been conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2010 and the Padma Shri in 2012.
• Very recently, in April 2018, she has been honoured with an Indian postal stamp issued in her name.
The former captain of the team, in an interview, had revealed that a biopic on her is in the making with the working title ‘Chakdaha Express.’ The biopic will trace Jhulan’s journey from the Vivekananda Park nets in Kolkata to the Lord’s cricket ground in London.
Apart from games, she is a self confessed movie-buff and a book-worm.