I am still young, have never thought of retiring: Jhulan Goswami’s World Cup dream still on

From Derby to Mumbai, Jhulan Goswami's top seven T20I shows

Jhulan Goswami appeals for a wicket. ©BCCI

At 37, India pacer Jhulan Goswami has earned everything that she had dreamt of when she started at the age of 15. Starting from being the first woman to take 200 ODIs in the world to being termed as a living legend and inspiration for youngsters in the country to having all the trophies in her cabinet, Jhulan has all.

Despite such an illustrious career, one dream that Jhulan still craves for is lifting the all elusive World Cup – a moment that she came close to in 2017. And with the 2021 World Cup in sight, she will give it another go and is in no mood to hang up her boots anytime soon.

“I am extremely positive and keep dreaming of lifting the crown,” Jhulan was quoted as saying to India.com. “We have a strong team and there should be no reason why we should not win it. In the last three seasons, we have done well in ICC tournaments and now the coveted trophy would be the icing on the cake.”

Just as they say ‘age is just a number’, Jhulan too believes the same and will continue to play the game till her body permits. “I am still young, have never thought of retiring. I am enjoying the game and would keep continuing. At heart, I am 27 or maybe the little ball girl with a dream. Will continue playing till I am enjoying the challenge in the middle and hopefully my body will permit me to do what my heart wants,” added the lanky tall woman from Chakdaha in Nadia district of West Bengal.

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During her decade-and-a-half long career so far, the veteran pacer has become the highest wicket-taker in ODI history, won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award in 2007, was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2010 and then the Padma Shri, a couple of years later.

The ‘umbrella’ on the field for the whole team, Jhulu di (everyone calls Jhulan) is currently at her Dumdum residence in Kolkata during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been following guidelines issued by the BCCI. “Not just me, everyone is facing problems. But I am trying my best to stay fit with whatever I have at my disposal.

“It may not be as effective as going to the gym, but this is good enough. All these years, because of frantic travelling, I barely got any time to spend time with my family and loved ones, now I am making up for all that,” she added.

After Jhulan, Shikha Pandey is the only Indian pacer to have gained a fair bit of recognition at the international level. Asked about where we are lacking, Jhulan pointed out at the infrastructures and proper guidance. “That is not the case – we have promising pacers, but again, they need proper infrastructure, regular camps, and sound guidance. Also, fast bowlers are not born overnight, it is a process and I am hopeful in the near future we will have a pool of seven to eight pacers, who can fit into the XI anytime we need them,” said Jhulan.

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She also feels that the women’s IPL – of which opinions and views are on high – will happen in two-three years' time if not immediately. “Yes, with Sourav Ganguly at the helm of BCCI, I am hopeful. If not immediately, then over the next couple of seasons, it should start. However, these days there are Super Challenger games held during the IPL, so things are looking up in the right direction,” she added.

Jhulan also spoke about young Shafali Verma stating her next big thing in Indian cricket. “Have not interacted much with her, but according to what I have seen, she has immense power and needs proper guidance and could be the next big thing in Indian cricket.”

Finally, speaking about her own biopic where Anushka Sharma is playing her role, Jhulan said, “It is a different feeling altogether – where I feel excited and happy and a little nervous. I am really looking forward to watching Anushka play me in reel life. I am sure she will do justice to the role.”