23 years and 9 tours; this is the amount of time Jhulan Goswami waited to win a series in England. It finally happened when team India led by Harmanpreet Kaur took an unassailable lead of 2-0 in the ongoing ENGW vs INDW ODI series. Jhulan Goswami's wait to hold a trophy in England will come true when he steps in to play the final match of her career at Lord's coming Saturday. Gargi Banerjee, former India Cricketer who knows every bit of Jhulan shared her thoughts on that historic moment.
"We all are just proud and happy for Jhulan that she will get to hold that trophy in her final series and at Lord's," Gargi Banerjee started the conversation with excitement and happiness in her voice. "I can not tell you how happy I am as a Bengali and Indian to see Jhulan getting all the love from the whole world. Her contribution to cricket will be remembered forever," she added.
"The Lord's game is very special for us because it's Jhulan's retirement and we wanted to enjoy that game without any pressure and I'm really happy that we were able to win today and now we can just have fun in that game."Harmanpreet Kaur, India Women's team
Indian batters started the match with their 2nd highest WODI total ever in their history. 56 from Harleen Deol and a blistering 143* of 111 balls from captain Harmanpreet Kaur took India to 333/5 in the full quota of 50 overs.
Along with Harmanpreet's knock, it was great to see how Harleen coped with the pressure after the wickets of Shafali and Smriti. Gargi Banerjee feels if India has to perform and win like this consistently, the youngsters will have to stand up and perform in tough situations.
"As I said earlier, all of them are good players. You have to give them a few matches to get ready for the international level. Players like Hemalatha and Harleen will have to come good whenever there is an opportunity," Gargi Banerjee said in an exclusive interview with Sportz Point.
Another positive thing from the whole team was the standard of fielding. Players like Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Smriti Mandhana, and Harmanpreet Kaur have been outstanding in the field. Even others have been putting up a great show to match up with the best in the world. "Yes, the overall fielding has been better and we as a whole fielding unit have done well in this series. And, that is why we have been able to put pressure on the opponent," said Gargi Banerjee.
However, with all of this, the Harmanpreet Kaur show took all the limelight. The Indian captain now averages 116.20 with the bat as a captain in the Women's ODIs. Harmanpreet herself said, "When I am leading, I feel like I am in the game. I enjoy captaining the side."
"Harman has proved that she is not a one-match performer. The change in the Indian Women's cricket scene came after her inning in the 2017 world cup. I think she has been tremendous as a captain and with the bat as well. The kind of shots she played last night proves why she is called one of the best hitters of the ball in women's cricket. The best thing is she does it when the team needs it most," Gargi Banerjee expressed.
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As Harmanpreet Kaur confirmed that the Lord's match will be the last match of Jhulan Goswami, it will leave a vacant space in the bowling lineup. However, with the performance of Renuka Singh Thakur in recent times, Indian fans can certainly hope for something good.
"No one can replace Jhulan. We can not compare anyone with her. But, yes, Renuka has been good. But you have to remember that she had the guidance of Jhulan on the field. In future, Renuka will need support from other bowlers like Meghna Singh and Pooja Vastrakar to hunt in partnership," the former India cricketer added.
"I hope everyone will be watching Jhulan playing her final match. Lord's match will be one of the historic moments of Indian Women's Cricket. My best wishes to Jhulan and the team for this historic match," said Gargi Banerjee.