‘Singing national anthem, wearing India jersey was the ultimate feeling’

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Jhulan Goswami, one of India’s greatest ever cricketers, on Friday confirmed her retirement from international cricket ahead of the Lord’s One Day International against England.

The pacer, who made her India debut in January 2002 in an ODI against England in Chennai, is the all-time leading wicket-taker in women’s ODIs with 253 strikes so far in 203 matches. And she will have a chance to add to that when she steps out for a final time at one of cricket’s most iconic venues.

Jhulan Goswami’s career

FORMAT Mat Inns Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5w
Test 12 21 44 5/25 10/78 17.36 2.02 51.5 3
ODIs 203 202 253 6/31 6/31 22.10 3.37 39.3 2
T20Is 68 67 56 5/11 5/11 21.94 5.45 24.1 1
ESPNCricinfo

“Walking out of the dressing room and singing the national anthem in the middle of the ground, wearing your name on the India jersey will be the best moments of my career. It is the ultimate feeling for me and I always enjoyed those moments,” Goswami said in a press conference on Friday from England.

“Those will be the most memorable moments, I always dreamed about those things. Every day I wanted to get up and represent India. Biggest achievement. These are the things that I will miss in my life. But this is how life is. You have to end one day, here or there. I am fortunate enough to be able to serve the Indian team for 20 years, able to contribute a little bit from my side, whatever way I was able to with a lot of honesty and dedication. Each and every moment in the dressing moment, I enjoyed. Those are very precious. Ups and downs… we have gone through a lot, we tried to bounce back.

“Again I will say, singing that national anthem in the center wearing India jersey… amazing feeling, those are the best moments in my life.”

In a press conference that lasted nearly half an hour, Goswami reflected on her career with a warmth that has become a trademark of sorts on the field, as she wound down a career as the senior member who guided youngsters along, with a hug here, and a hug there. She also said, without revealing details, that the teammates have been planning little surprises for her through this tour on England.

Goswami’s retirement comes a couple of months after Mithali Raj’s, the legendary former captain with whom she shared a long journey.

“Never thought about playing such a long time, it was a great experience. Every moment I have enjoyed. [Playing with Mithali Raj] We had a great relation on and off the field, since we played together from the U19 days. From what Indian cricket was, to today, it has been a journey and we believed that we can change the face of Indian cricket.

“We believed that we can be in the top three or four teams in the world. Not a one day process, long time… lot of hours discussing, lots of up and downs, but we always believed in our own abilities. We all enjoyed each and every moment in the team. I am very fortunate to play this sport, never thought about all this coming from Chakdah, didn’t know anything about women’s cricket. Thanks to my family, they supported me from the beginning,” she said.

With India not playing any ODIs at home in the near future, and the T20 World Cup on the horizon early in 2023, a farewell in England seemed fitting for the veteran pacer.

“Unfortunately we are not playing ODIs at home as per the calendar already. The team is preparing for the upcoming T20 World Cup. I think I am fortunate enough to play my first series against England and also ending against England. Lord’s has always been special for every cricketer, a very importance place, so I am happy with whatever way [this farewell] has come. No regrets from my side,” she added.

When asked if she will be up for a women’s Indian Premier League that is reportedly going to start early next year, Goswami said she hasn’t thought about it.

“As of now I haven’t decided. So far, officially, BCCI hasn’t announced it yet but we all are hopeful that it will start coming season. Let it be officially announced and then I will decide. At this moment, I am just ending my career from international cricket.”

(More to follow)

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