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Farewell to Cricket: Indian Women Prepare for God’s Memorable Dance for Legendary Jhulan Goswami


Jhulan Goswami, a name synonymous with ‘fast bowling’ in women’s cricket, will enter her ticketing sunset at God on Saturday and the India team will strive to make it a memorable swan for her by completing the historic ODI series on British soil, in London. Playing a game at Lord is an ultimate dream for a cricketer. Scoring a hundred or taking a year is a variable high but bidding on the game after an illustrious career at ‘Mecca of Cricket’ is open to only a select few.

Sunil Gavaskar (although he played his last first-place match there) didn’t get that chance. Neither Sachin Tendulkar or one Brian Lara or one Glenn McGrath got that chance to walk down the stairs of the sacred Long Room on their final day of competition.

Even Goswami’s colleague for almost 20 years, Mithali Rajcan’t leave the cricket field.

But call it destiny or design, Goswami’s final hurdle is happening at Lord.

There couldn’t be a more iconic scene when the 5-foot-11-inch woman was walking through that Long Room, where the MCC’s ‘clothes’ would stand up and hand her a ‘Guard of Honor’ ‘ and she will enter the ground with her teammates.

A series of matches were won with a 2-0 lead, Harmanpreet Kaur and her team won’t spare a single kick to make it a worthy farewell for one of the ‘girls of the back’ of Indian cricket.

Having lost in the T20I series, India performed exceptionally well against a depleted England team in two matches where they dominated in pursuit as well as while setting goals.

If the biggest benefit is that captain Harmanpreet gets her contact and is free to return with 74 no-loss and 143-zero plays, the worry is already. Shafali Vermaof patchy form throughout the tour.

Harleen Deol has done a great job establishing himself as a reliable mid-range smasher but with Goswami retiring, the attack that includes Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur and Pooja Vastrakar will need much more reinforcement.

For England, the captain’s absence Heather Knight (due to injury) and almighty star Nat Sciver (mental health impairment) greatly affects the balance of the group.

Goswami – Impact Then and Now

The last time Indian women won an ODI series in the UK was in 1999 when Goswami hadn’t made her international debut.

So when she shows up in her 204th and final game, Team India’s revered “Jhulu Di” will know that she’s a contented soul.

Maybe an ICC silver trophy (she had two shots on it in 2005 and 2017 when India played the final) would look good but sometimes some things just don’t.

When she makes one last bowling mark and struts down that Lord’s slope to add to his 353 international player shots (across multiple formats), she can remember a lot.

From the small town of Chakdah in remote West Bengal to winning the ‘ICC Woman Cricketer of The Year’ and leading India’s speed offensive for 20 years, you can only take your hat off to her.

It’s not an easy journey to catch the first local train to Kolkata and start with routines at North Kolkata’s Shradhhananda Park (a small, indescribable patch of land).

Even after her India debut, when she returns home, from Chakdah station, she will be seen sitting in an open Van Rickshaw van.

When she first played for India, Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh weren’t even born yet. Jemimah Rodrigues maybe in her diaper.

Harmanpreet is still a dreamy-eyed Moga girl who wants to play cricket.

When she retired, Harmanpreet was her captain and Shafali, Jemimah, Richa and Yastika Bhatia were her teammates.

And yes, the women’s IPL is about to start, the female cricketers have a central contract and most of them are driving Mercedes, BMWs and Audis, with a ton of money.

She bridges struggles from traveling in second class, living in dormitories and youth hostels with shared toilets, to traveling in business class and staying in hostels. Luxury 5-star hotel with suitable central contract and financial security.

In between, a lot of water had flowed through both Hooghly and Thames as she continued her journey.

The delivery to Meg Lanning in the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup will be one of the ticketing acts you wish for.

As India aim for a 3-0 sweep after a couple of dominant performances, one can guarantee there will be no disappointment in her intensity.

There will not be another Jhulan Goswami.

Team

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti MandhanaShafali Verma, Sabbineni Meghana, Deepti SharmaYastika Bhatia (week), Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Renuka Thakur, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari GayakwadHarleen Deol, Dayalan Hemalatha, Simran Dil Bahadur, Jhulan Goswami, Taniyaa Bhatia and Jemimah Rodrigues.

England: Amy Jones (c and wk), Tammy BeaumontLauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Alice Davidson-Richards, Charlie Dean, Sophia DunkleySophie Eclestone, Freya Kemp, Issy Wong and Danni Wyatt.

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The match starts at 3:30pm IST.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)

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