Anushka Sharma is all set to make her comeback in her upcoming sports drama Chakda ‘Xpress, inspired by the life of Jhulan Goswami, one of women cricket’s all-time greatest players.
There’s so much to know about and learn from her life and this old interview with Gaurav Kapur for an episode of Breakfast With Champions Season 6 is a perfect start.
In the beginning of the conversation Jhulan revealed when was the first time she saw girls playing on field. The 1997 World Cup. She was the ball girl in the final match between Australia and New Zealand. The match that made her dream big.
Back then sports wasn’t something even remotely associated with women in India. Belonging to a middle class, orthodox family where no one ever played any sport, it was a huge challenge for her to convince them and make them understand what she wanted to do.
The only person in her family who supported her whole-heartedly was her grandmother and she was lucky to have her support.
Kitna bhi mummy, papa, uncle, aunty log chillaye mujh par, at the end of the day koi bhi grandma ke upar ja ke baat nahi kar sakta.
Another big challenge for her was to commute from Chakda to Kolkata every day. It was a 5-hour journey both ways by local train. Her coach played a crucial role in keeping her motivated for that arduous journey.
Talking about her coach, Swapan Sadhu, she recalled the moment when he first saw her bowling at a practice session in Vivekananda Park and later told her:
Maine itne ladki log ko cricket sikhaya lekin aapke jaisa high-arm bowling action kisi ka nahi dekha. Uske baad agar main aapko support nahi karta toh ek waste of talent ho jaata.
Jhulan will always be thankful to Mr. Sadhu, for convincing her family to let her play cricket. He went to her family members and asked them to give him 2 years to train her.
When ICC introduced the ranking system for women’s cricket, Jhulan was the first bowler to be ranked number one. She didn’t realise but the entire ranking system became a kind of addiction for her. She used to check her score every day without fail.
If Jhulan Goswami is speaking in an interview, we cannot not expect her to talk about the game-changing 2017 World Cup. India did not win the finals but they won so many hearts and Jhulan will always be grateful to fans for accepting the Indian women’s cricket team.
She even described the mood in the dressing room after losing to England.
When Gaurav asked her if she ever imagined she will play for Indian for 20 long years, Jhulan said:
In May 2009 Amita Sharma was there in the team and we had a coach Sudha Shah. Maine unko bola tha 2009 World Cup ke baad main retire….
And here she is still playing for the Indian team. She took retirement from T20 in 2018.
You can watch the complete conversation here.