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Women's Cricket

Top 10 for 17 years, top 5 for 12 years: Jhulan Goswami's ranking timeline

Mithali Raj and Sachin Tendulkar are the only other Indian cricketers who have maintained their top-10 rank for a span comparable to Jhulan Goswami.

Top 10 for 17 years, top 5 for 12 years: Jhulan Goswamis ranking timeline

Jhulan Goswami entered the top 10 in ODI rankings in 2005. She stayed in the top 10 till her retirement in 2022. (ICC)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 28 Sep 2022 3:20 PM GMT

Jhulan Goswami retired as the fifth ranked bowler in ODIs last week, bringing to an end an extraordinary career. She retires as the highest wicket-taker in women's ODIs. Her 255 wickets are 64 more than the next best bowler, thus ensuring that her record is set to stay intact for the foreseeable future.

One remarkable aspect of Jhulan Goswami's career has been her longevity, especially given that she is a fast bowler. She is the only bowler in women's ODIs to have bowled more than 10,000 deliveries since her debut in 2002.

But the number of deliveries or wickets do not do complete justice to Goswami's career. In the 20-year span of her international career, Goswami was among the top 10 ODI bowlers for 17 years (April 2005 to September 2022). Only in the first three years of her career was she outside this elite list.

She was in the top 5 for 12 of these 17 years - from December 2005 to June 2017.

Jhulan Goswami's ODI rank through the years

A timeline of Jhulan Goswamis ODI ranking (Rank on Y-Axis, Matches played on X-Axis)

She was ranked as the No.1 bowler for around four years in this period. She achieved the No.1 ranking for the first time in December 2006. She regained it in February 2007 and held it almost uninterrupted till October 2008. In 2010, she again held the No.1 rank uninterrupted for a whole year. She regained the honour again in July 2015 and held on to it till November 2016. She returned to the top spot for one month for one last time in February 2019.

Among Indian cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar and Mithali Raj are the only batters who have had comparable time spans in the top 10 rankings.

Mithali Raj's ODI rank through the years

A timeline of Mithali Rajs ODI ranking (Rank on Y-Axis, Matches played on X-Axis)

While Mithali Raj never dropped out of the top 10 in women's ODI rankings between 2003 and 2022, Sachin Tendulkar was in the top 10 in men's ODIs for around 15 years. He had an almost uninterrupted stay in the top 10 for almost a decade - between 1994 and 2004. In Tests, Tendulkar had an uninterrupted tenure in the top 10 rankings between 1993 and 2004.

Sachin Tendulkar's ODI rank through the years

A timeline of Sachin Tendulkars ODI ranking (Rank on Y-Axis, Matches Played on X-Axis)

But whereas Sachin Tendulkar's greatness never seemed to depend on his world rank, it was Jhulan Goswami's rank that first brought her into the spotlight.

After ICC took over women's cricket in 2006, it was India's Jhulan Goswami who won the 'Women Cricketer of the Year' award in 2007, making her an instant sensation back home.

"That was the first time people took attention of how India's women cricketers were slowly becoming some of the best in the world. There was an unprecedented level of excitement in Chakdah after that news. Scores of local clubs arranged reception functions in Jhulan's honour. The only other time there was such fanfare was during the 2017 World Cup," her brother Kunal Goswami told The Bridge.

Even Jhulan herself has admitted that the ranking factor was something that changed her as a person temporarily.

"It had become an obsession for me. The first thing I would do on waking up is to check the ranking, calculate how much I was ahead of the 2nd best bowler. But my game suffered as a result. Then I told myself to chase rankings is not my job, my job is to do well for the team," she had said on Breakfast with Champions in 2019.

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