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Women's Cricket

Jhulan Goswami's final shot at a 25-year-old dream

Jhulan Goswami was a 15-year-old ball girl when she decided her ultimate goal would be to win a World Cup. Twice, she has reached the finals with the Indian team. Twice, she has fallen short. This year, she has her final chance.

Jhulan Goswamis final shot at a 25-year-old dream

Tazeen Qureshy

Updated: 20 Jan 2022 9:40 AM GMT

In 1997, when Australian captain Belinda Clark lifted the Women's World Cup trophy and took a victory lap at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, a ball girl discovered her life's ambition – to win a World Cup for India.

Two and a half decades later, Jhulan Goswami, counted among the biggest legends in women's cricket, still has the visuals of her first live match fresh in her mind. The fast bowler, who is likely to make her last World Cup appearance, will attempt to give her dream another shot this March.

"I have been chasing this dream from my childhood. I was part of the team that made it to the World Cup finals twice, but I have not been able to lift the trophy like Belinda. I hope I will be able to tick all those boxes and I am looking forward to his tournament," Jhulan said in an interaction at the WINS (Women in News and Sports) workshop, run by ABC International Development and funded by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Indian team is currently under quarantine in Mumbai and is expected to leave for New Zealand on January 24. They will first play a 5-match ODI series against the hosts before starting their World Cup campaign.

"It is going to be good preparation for us. We played our last competitive international against Australia. So, before the World Cup we will get to play a top team. We will also be able to acclimatize with the wicket and go fresh for the World Cup," she said.

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The World Cup, which was initially scheduled from February to March 7, was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It is a tough time for all of us. But we are still fortunate to come out and play cricket, because we love this event. Fortunately, the BCCI, the ICC and the management are working on it. We are under quarantine in India first and then again will follow the procedure in New Zealand. It is going to be tough as it requires a lot of mental strength. Nonetheless we have to accept the facts and understand we are going to play cricket and that is the most beautiful thing," she added.

In the last edition of the World Cup, India finished runners-up, losing by 9 runs to England in one of the closest finals in the history of the tournament. This edition, the team will look forward to reversing the result.

"It was tough to not be able to lift the Cup. But that is history. Now, we will go there and express ourselves and enjoy the game. As a team, we will focus on the process. There is not much difference in terms of preparation as such. The only changes are Covid-19 and the quarantine rules," said Jhulan.

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The highest wicket taker in Women's ODIs and one of the world's best fast bowlers, Jhulan has so far remained tight-lipped about her future plans. For now, she is only hoping to relive the childhood dream of lifting the World Cup trophy just like Belinda Clark.

"When I started, I dreamt of representing my country. I am chasing the dream until today. If you play for over two decades, a lot of milestones will come and you will enjoy those moments. As an athlete, my role is to go out there and perform. At this moment, I am not thinking whether this is going to be my last World Cup or not. I just want to contribute to my side," she signed off.

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