The highest wicket-taker in Women’s ODIs, Jhulan Goswami added yet another feather to her cap when she claimed the South Africa opener Laura Wolvaardt as her 200th ODI scalp in the second ODI against the Proteas Women. The tall bowler became the first woman cricketer to attain the landmark.
Speaking from South Africa, Goswami said that while the achievement has brought her joy, the fact that it came in a massive win brings her most happiness. A recipient of the Padma Shri and an Arjuna Awardee, she stressed on the importance of processes, training and playing while discussing her career.
Thanks to my family, my team-mates, coaches and others that I can continue playing cricket. It is really special as whenever you achieve a milestone, you feel happy; you feel proud. But it was important for me to concentrate on my bowling as at the end of the day, how we perform matters most.
Honestly speaking, when I was only three wickets away from being the highest wicket-taker in the world, I was keeping a count. I took a long time to cross that milestone, but this time I was not counting. I was concentrating only on my processes. If my process is right, then wickets will follow.
It was a very special day for me; more special because we won convincingly. We played very good cricket. I am very happy for Smriti (Mandhana), Veda (Krishnamurthy), Harman (Harmanpreet Kaur) for the way they batted. Also, Shikhu (Shikha Pandey), Raja (Rajeshwari Gayakwad), Poonam (Yadav) everybody they took responsibility and performed well. At the end of the day, cricket is a team sport.
Whatever milestone you have achieved, it feels good (only) when you are on the winning side. It was important for us to win. The points are important as it is the ICC Women’s Championship, a qualifying event for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021. So, more than the 200 wickets, it was important to take the two points from each and every match.
You open the bowling for India and you were on 199 wickets today. Despite all the experience did you feel a bit of nerve?
Every match that I play for India, I feel the nerves. I always feel that pressure. And honestly speaking, I have hardly had lunch (between innings breaks) all my life. I can’t eat. It is added responsibility on me when we are playing big tournaments like this against South Africa. They are a quality side. When we scored 300 plus runs we know that they are going to try and hit, so I was just concentrating on my line. It was important to give early breakthroughs.
Yes, nerves are always there. I feel that it helps you concentrate more. It is a good thing for players to have that kind of nervousness.
As a fast bowler what has helped you sustain yourself for this long at the highest level?
I do a lot of training. I believe in my training. As a fast bowler, you have to train hard as there are a lot of ups and downs. When things aren’t working my way, it is the process that counts. I strongly believe that my training regime has helped me a lot because there is a lot of wear and tear. Injuries happen, but our schedule is such that we play one series, then we get a break of one or two months. So, I have got time to recover.
Which has been your most favourite wicket?
I remember each of my 200 wickets, right from the beginning of my international career in 2002. I still remember I got (Caroline) Atkins (the then England opener) out, caught in the slips. Mithali (Raj) was in the slip and she caught that catch. Whenever I bowl at a crucial time in the match and end a partnership, it becomes special for me. I cannot pick one. All the wickets are planned. Every wicket is important.
How do you look back on your long career?
So far whenever I have played, I have tried to give more than my hundred per cent on the field. I always play for my team, it is not about an individual (performance). Every day, every session and every match, I always enjoy. It is a huge honour for me to represent my country. Wearing the India jersey is a big honour for me. All these moments are very special moments in my career because iske elava mere life mein kuch nahi hai (there is nothing else in my life other than this).