My dream was to play just one cricket match for India: Jhulan Goswami
Former Indian women’s cricket captain, Jhulan Goswami has been playing cricket since the age of 15. The tallest player of the Indian cricket team has not just aces at batting but bowling as well. However, she had modest dreams she just wanted to represent India in “one game”. Jhulan along with Rahul Dravid and Mithali Raj were in Conversation with Archana Vijaya at a panel on Women Empowerment in Sports-Breaking Boundaries-organized by FICCI Flo in New Delhi.
The former captain of the Women’s cricket team opened up about the challenges she faced to get into the cricket team. She recollects, “I watched the 1992 World Cup for the first time on TV and from there started the passion to watch and play the sport. I used to play a lot of backyard cricket with my cousins where my role was that of a ball girl. If the ball went out of the area, it was my job to go get it. And if any of their players were missing, they used to take me to field and that was all I got to do back then.”
“There have been times when I stole the money from my father’s pocket to go for cricket training”- Jhulan Goswami
The leading wicket-taker in the ODIs grew up in a small village of Chakdaha, Nadia in West Bengal. She talked about her childhood, and how there weren’t any leather balls to play with, so she played with tennis balls. “It was in 1997 that I saw Women’s World Cup final and before that I had no idea about women’s cricket. After watching it I realized that even I can play the sport professionally and I can also represent India. After that my only dream was to represent India in at least one match,” she said.
“I dropped my desire to pursue my dream to become professional cricket player like a bomb at my home. My family had no idea about women’s cricket. Basically my house’s environment was such that education is most important and extracurricular only had singing and dancing as options. After you complete your studies then parents will marry you off and that’s how girls live their lives back at home,” she added about how she disclosed her dream in front of her family.
Then there were other challenges to actually pursue cricket professionally, and one of the main setbacks for Jhulan was to arrange finances. “To come from Chakdaha to Kolkata, you need to have money to have a local bus pass to travel. There have been times when I stole the money from my father’s pocket to go for training,” she told the audience adding that she was only 15 when she travelled for long distances for training.
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