The teaser for Chakda Xpress finally dropped, with Anushka Sharma in and as Jhulan Goswami, the former captain of India’s women’s national cricket team. She lead the team from 2008-2011. So obviously, we decided to tell you guys everything you should know as a sports fan, about this legendary icon who changed Indian cricket for women.

During a time when cricket was not considered a lucrative career option for women, Jhulan Goswami chose the sport loved by all Indians. Gender discrimination, lack of facilities, you name it, this sports star has proven her mettle time and again. Her story is that of the underdog, and just the right stuff for Bollywood.

Jhulan Goswami hails from Chakdaha, in the Nadia district of West Bengal. She grew up in a middle-class family that was intensely into football. As a kid, she used to spend her time playing tennis-ball cricket with friends and cousins. But the turning point for her towards cricket was after watching the Australia vs New Zealand match in 1997, where she served as a ball girl. She was particularly impressed by former Australian international cricketer Belinda Clarke’s victory lap during the match.

But the journey from Chakda to Kolkata to represent the Indian Team was harsh with an 80 km long commute due to lack of sports facilities and infrastructure. She had to wake up at 4:30 AM, for three days a week, to catch the early morning train to Kolkata at 5 AM, and then took a bus to reach the practice at 7:30 AM. After 9.30, it was another two-hour trek back to her hometown to report to school. This journey toughened her up.

Goswami’s education was affected and her family was doubtful. At one point, her coach and mentor Swapan Sadhu, intervened by going to her house to talk to her family. Since then, she never looked back. Soon after finishing her training in Kolkata, Goswami was asked to join the Bengal women’s cricket team.

Goswami batted with the right hand and bowled right-arm medium-fast and is regarded as one of the greatest women fast bowlers of all time with touching speeds of 120km/hr.

She would bowl five to six overs extra after her regular practice session to develop her bowling skills. In her first meeting with Mithali Raj, she bowled her out for a duck. In 2002, she made her international debut at the age of 19, in a one-day International Match against England in Chennai. Her test debut took place on 14 January 2002, against England in Lucknow.

Achievements from 2005-2010

2005- Part of the Indian Team to reach World-Cup.

2006-  First Test series win in England in the 2006-07 season.

2007- Won ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year, coincidentally, no Indian male cricketer received an individual award that year.

2008- Took over from Mitali Raj to become Captain of the Indian Women Cricket Team. 

2008- Became the fourth woman to reach 100 wickets in ODIs at Asia Cup.

2010- Conferred with the Arjuna Award.

Achievements from 2011-2021

2012- Conferred with the Padma Shri Award.

2016- She was ranked first in the ICC Women’s ODI Bowling Ranking in January.

2017- Became the highest wicket-taker in One Day Internationals with a record of 180 wickets, overtaking Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick – a player who partly inspired her to take up the game professionally as a child.

2017- Part of the Indian team to reach the final of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup where the team lost to England by nine runs.

2018- Claimed her 300th international wicket against Sri Lanka. 

2018-  Became the first woman cricketer to reach 200 wickets in one-day cricket.

2018- An Indian postage stamp was issued in her honour.

2020- Goswami was nominated for the ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade award. 

2021- She was named in India’s Test squad for their one-off match against the England women’s cricket team.

She became one of the few women sportsperson in India to reach new heights leading India in 25 ODIs. If this does not inspire you to go for your dreams, I don’t know what will.

Here’s to more women legends like Jhulan Goswami, making their dreams come true.