Jhulan Goswami is a giant of the women’s game. Based on numbers alone, she is the most successful bowler in the world, with over 300 international wickets to her credit.
Ever since her international debut in 2002, Goswami has not only raised the bar for Indian fast bowlers, but all her contemporaries around the world.
Having started off as a tearaway quick who could terrorise batters with her raw pace, Goswami has, over the years, adapted her skill set to the changing demands of the game, and those of her body. A deceptive off-cutter, a pin-point yorker, a rarely used bouncer, and her good-old friend, the length ball, have all seen her succeed in different conditions through her career.
Now, in the twilight of her career, she sits at the top of the bowling charts with a total of 321 wickets – 225 of which have come in ODIs alone.
This week, Women’s CricZone celebrates Goswami’s achievements, listing out several milestone wickets in her ODI career.
Wicket no. 1: Caroline Atkins c Raj b Goswami
India v England
6 Jan 2002, Chennai
It seems almost poetic that Mithali Raj was involved in Goswami’s first international wicket, taking the catch to dismiss England’s Caroline Atkins for 10 to give the fast bowler her maiden wicket. With India having won the toss on a winter morning in Chennai in January 2002, Goswami was handed the new ball by skipper Anjum Chopra. She bowled a tight opening spell, keeping the pair of Atkins and Arran Brindle quiet. Finally, off the penultimate ball of her fifth over, Goswami was rewarded for her consistency when she removed Atkins for a 29-ball 10, leaving England at 20 for 1 in 8.5 overs.
She went on to pick up the wicket of Lucy Pearson, to finish the day with impressive figures of 7-0-15-2. India completed an emphatic eight-wicket win.
Wicket no. 50: Rebecca Steele b Goswami
India v New Zealand
7 Apr 2005, Potchefstroom
Goswami’s 50th wicket came three years after her debut, during the 2005 Women’s World Cup in South Africa. Through the tournament, Goswami had proven to be one of India’s lead bowlers, forming a wonderful combination with left-arm spinner Neetu David as India sauntered into the semi-final where they faced defending champions New Zealand.
After Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 91 set up India’s total of 204, their bowlers came together to deny New Zealand any chance of victory. Fittingly, when Goswami dismissed No. 11, Rebecca Steele, for 1 in the 44th over, not only did she seal India’s place in their maiden World Cup final, but also picked up her 50th ODI wicket.
Wicket no. 100: Deepika Rasangika c Rawat b Goswami
India v Sri Lanka
8 May 2008, Kurunegala
When Sri Lanka batter Deepika Rasangika was caught by Asha Rawat during the 2008 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, Jhulan Goswami became the second Indian to take 100 ODI wickets after Neetu David. The right-arm seamer got to the mark in 82 matches, having bowled 663.3 overs.
Her spell of 2 for 25 helped India restrict Sri Lanka to a meagre 123 for 9. The visitors overhauled the target in 26 overs, with eight wickets to spare.
Wicket no. 142: Jenny Gunn c & b Goswami
India v England
4 Jul 2012, Taunton
In another memorable game for India, Goswami went on to make her presence felt with a devastating spell of 4 for 17 against England in a low-scoring thriller in Taunton in 2012. After the visitors’ lower order helped them to a total of 129 in bowler-friendly conditions, Goswami led India’s charge with the ball, removing both England’s key batters – Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor – for ducks in her first spell. She then came back in the middle overs when England were building a partnership, to remove Jenny Gunn caught and bowled for 20 off 72 balls.
That wicket saw the fast bowler surpass Neetu David as India’s highest wicket-taker in ODIs with 142 scalps to her credit.
Goswami picked up another wicket in the game when she castled Georgia Elwiss to seal a 14-run win for India.
Wicket no. 150: Chamari Atapattu c Raj b Goswami
India v Sri Lanka
5 Feb 2013, Mumbai
In India’s final league match of the 2013 World Cup in Mumbai, Jhulan Goswami dismissed Chamari Atapattu in her very first over to become only the second female bowler to reach the 150-wicket mark in ODIs. It would be the only highlight in what was an otherwise very disappointing match for India. Although the fast bowler finished with three wickets in the game, that India went down by a mammoth 138 runs – thus getting knocked out of the World Cup – certainly soured the occasion.
Wicket no. 181: Raisibe Ntozakhe lbw Goswami
India v South Africa
9 May 2017, Potchefstroom
For a large part of the next four years, whenever Goswami played, she seemed to be doing so with a monkey on her back. The question everyone was asking was when would she surpass Cathryn Fitzpatrick’s magical mark of 180 ODI wickets. Between 2014 and 2016, she got wickets in ones and twos, even going wicketless in seven games; and in January 2017, she found herself injured and out of the World Cup Qualifiers in Sri Lanka. However, come India’s tour of South Africa ahead of the 2017 World Cup, the fast bowler was back and eager to get back on track. Finally, on 9 May 2017, when she caught South Africa off-spinner Raisibe Ntozakhe plumb in front of the stumps, with a trademark full delivery, Goswami became the most successful bowler in women’s ODIs.
Wicket no. 200: Laura Wolvaardt c Verma b Goswami
India v South Africa
7 Feb 2018, Kimberley
It is a game remembered as the starting point of Smriti Mandhana’s dominance in the year to follow. The left-hander bashed a rapid 135 to seal India’s series win over South Africa. However, it was also a game that saw India’s greatest ever fast bowler tick off a landmark few thought possible. In only her third over of the day, Goswami got Laura Wolvaardt to nick off for seven, with Sushma Verma taking a good catch diving to her right. It was a dismissal that saw Goswami, then 36, become the first woman to take 200 ODI wickets. It was the only wicket she got that day, but it helped India register a massive 178-run win.