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Women's Cricket

"Representing India is the biggest motivation for me": Jhulan Goswami

Jhulan Goswami led the pace attack of India and helped the team win with a stunning 4-42 in her 10-over spell against South Africa in Lucknow.

Jhulan Goswami cricket

Jhulan Goswami (Source: Reuters)


Shruti Banerjee

Updated: 16 March 2021 9:17 AM GMT

Pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami led the pace attack of India and helped the team win with a stunning 4-42 in her 10-over spell as India bounced back from a defeat in their 1st ODI against South Africa in Lucknow. Apart from Goswami, it was a Smriti Mandhana show (80*) with the bat who got good support in Punam Raut (62*).

After restricting South Africa within a below-par of 157, the run-chase was a cakewalk for them which they comfortably finished in just 28.4 overs with nine wickets to spare. While there was rustiness in them in the 1st ODI, the team looked confident since the beginning of the second ODI, and Goswami admitted the fact that the time was needed for them to settle as this is India's first international series in more than a year.

"It was the fiirst match, we were playing after long, so it took time for us to settle down," said Goswami in the post-match press conference on Tuesday (March 9). "We were not up to the mark. We were able to execute our plans perfectly today. It was a good match for us. We bowled with a lot of discipline today. I just tried to bowl in the right areas consistently. In the first match, I was bowling a little outside off-stump; today, I bowled in the right areas. That adjustment I had made."

Goswami, who was the lone wicket-taker in the 1st ODI, also opened up about the pitch that plays a crucial role in every game. While speaking about the changes, she said she was just stuck to the basics and got the success quite effectively as well.

"When you're playing a 9 o'clock match in a place like Lucknow, there's a bit of moisture in the wicket. If you're able to hit the ball in the right area, the ball was holding back. It was not easy to play shots then. It was much easier in the second innings on such a flat wicket. You just needed to hit through the line. If you're bowling first on this wicket, it is an advantage for the bowlers," she revealed.

"When you're coming back from a long layoff, you need to work on your basics. What routine you should follow, you should maintain the same. We know we are a good team. We didn't discuss much about the defeat, we just ensured we stuck to our basics," she further added.

At 38, she is one of the fittest fast bowlers in the circuit and who doesn't know the importance of fitness to perform consistently. While she has been retired from the shortest format, her sole focus is on the 50-over format. The highest wicket-taker in ODIs with 231 scalps, pretty well knows the performance is the only thing that matters to stay in the team.

"Representing India is the biggest motivation for me. I don't think you have to look elsewhere for motivation," Goswami again shared. "You cannot belong to the team if you don't perform your best every day. It's important for us to maintain our fitness and come out strong on the field. It's not going to be easy."

"When I retired from T20Is, the most important thing for me was to just focus on one format. I had niggles here and there. It was quite difficult for me to maintain (my fitness). Then I spent a lot of time in training. I tried to do well every day. As for me, I was doing a lot of training since the lockdown. I just kept following that. Representing India is my biggest achievement. That's my responsibility and job," she added.

However, apart from the win, there was another thing to rejoice about. The BCCI secretary Jay Shah announced yesterday that India will play a one-off Test match against England later this year. And, it is likely to be played during India's tour to England. India last featured in the longer format way back in 2014, and what could be better than this?

"Everyone was very excited. We last played a Test in 2014 against South Africa in Mysore. After six years we're going to play a Test. We are all excited. Test matches are one thing you want to play as a cricketer. You want to go there and perform well because it has a lot of challenges. Mental strength...physical strength, and that can change every session. We are excited and are looking forward to it," she said.

India Women will take on South Africa Women in the third ODI on March 12 at the same venue.

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