Want My Story On The Big Screen So That More Girls Are Motivated: Jhulan Goswami
She’s the world’s highest wicket-taker in Women’s One Day International cricket. Five feet and eleven inches tall Jhulan Goswami could easily intimidate you with her stature, both physically and with her achievements. But the fiery pacer has the warmest smile and the kindest words when you approach her for a chat. India’s most successful woman bowler speaks to Afshan Anjum about her biopic, aiming to play the next ODI World Cup and why she feels women cricketers don’t need concessions.
Jhulan who turns 38 this November, seems unaffected by the talk around her age. Instead, she has chosen to treat the COVID-19 lockdown as a break that’ll help her focus on her next target, the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. “When ICC announced the next date for Women’s World Cup, it gave me a goal and I felt positive. Initially I was very frustrated, tense and nervous about how I am going to cope with the lockdown. After certain days I chalked out a routine for myself. I trained in the corridors of my building, went for morning walk, did weights at home. I decided to do it with complete dedication. Today, I feel focussed and my eyes are on the target.”
A Little Trivia
- Jhulan Goswami was born in a town called Chakdaha in West Bengal.
- Jhulan woke up at 4.30 am and travelled 80 km to undergo training in Kolkata.
- Jhulan became the fastest woman bowler (120kph) after Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick.
- Jhulan is the highest wicket-taker in Women’s ODI cricket with a total of 225 wickets.
- Jhulan won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award in 2007 (where no Indian male cricketer bagged an individual award).
While Jhulan is waiting to get back to action on the field, her followers are keenly looking forward to her biopic on the big screen. Jhulan was born in Chakdaha in West Bengal, no wonder her story in the cinemas is set to be called ‘Chakdaha-Express’ where Anushka Sharma plays the fastest woman bowler of the world. While Jhulan chooses not to disclose any details about the film, she feels it’s important for her story to come out and reach a wider audience. “People in Bengali cinema had approached me many times about a biopic in Bangla but I never showed interest. I knew one thing in my heart that if my story ever goes on the big screen, it has to reach a vast audience so that more girls get motivated. I hope the film takes women’s cricket to more people around the country and they get to know about the challenges we’ve faced.”
Indeed women’s cricket has been through a long and tough journey especially in a country like India where the game’s identity has always been associated with men’s cricket. Female stars like Jhulan have witnessed the change that came alongside their achievements in past two decades. She is a staunch believer in traditional cricket; probably that is the reason why Jhulan does not support too many changes in the women’s game.
“Last 4-5 years, things are much better, people love to watch and follow women’s cricket. Social media has played a big role in this. We don’t need to make smaller grounds, it’ll make things complicated for the bowlers, they’ll merely become a piece of entertainment. The sport will revolve around the batsman and nobody will want to become a bowler as that will be like an enabler. Nobody talks about changes in football. Will you ever say turn it into a 75-minute game? Why only women’s cricket? If you add a lot of masala to food – the dish will lose flavour.”
Jhulan’s story started as a little girl who grew up playing cricket with the boys. She was often assigned the job of ‘ball-girl’ who would run and get the ball every time it went far away. She learnt to bowl and eventually became the fastest and the most successful female bowler of our times. Even as she aims to play probably her last cricket World Cup, Jhulan knows how to keep things simple. She believes that the future of Indian women pacers is bright and there are enough names to carry on her legacy, all they need is proper guidance. “You can’t create stars overnight. Medium pace is an art, it’s like playing marbles, whoever hits the target goes ahead. The same goes for bowling. You get better by keeping at it.”