Kolkata: The Chief Minister on Tuesday felicitated Bengal woman cricketer Jhulan Goswami and the Bengal Under-19 team who became the all India champions after winning the Cooch Behar Trophy earlier this year. Bengal had defeated Delhi to win the title after 19 years. CAB also honoured veteran coach Palash Nandy with ‘Kartick Bose Lifetime Achievement Award’ and a cheque of Rs. 2 lakhs. Nandy was the coach of the Ranji triumphant 1989-90 side when Ganguly made his domestic debut.
Indian women’s team fast bowler Jhulan Goswami on Tuesday revealed that she was so upset with her performance in the first two matches of the Women’s World Cup, that she asked the coach Tushar Arothe to “drop” her.
However, Arothe not only backed the lanky pacer from Bengal but also got full support from captain Mithali Raj, and eventually Jhulan turned out to be instrumental in India’s runners-up finish at Lord’s last month. “I was very disappointed of my show in the early stage of the World Cup,” Jhulan said after being felicitated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Cricket Association of Bengal’s annual awards ceremony at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
“After the match against the West Indies, I told my coach Tushar, ‘I’m not bowling properly and you can drop me next time.’ But he said ‘no, I want you to be there and lead the bowling attack’,” the speedster added. Jhulan said the coach’s inspiring words worked wonders for her as she worked over time with Mithali and went on to produce a gem of a delivery to castle Australia skipper Meg Lanning for a duck during India’s splendid 36-run win to oust the defending champions in the semi-final.
“Australia match was important for us. They are the best team in the world. Lanning is one of the best cricketers and very strong square of the wicket. I wanted to make sure to bowl in right areas. “I told Mithali that I would bowl to her like I would to Lanning and she would give me feedbacks. Luckily everything went in our way,” the 34-year-old said.
Jhulan was wicketless in first two matches 0/39 against England and 0/37 against the West Indies – but claimed 10 wickets in remaining seven matches.
In the summit clash, Jhulan’s tidy spell of 10-3-23-3 had helped India restrict England to a modest 228/7 but the visitors fell short by nine runs in the end to lose out on the trophy.
Just before the World Cup, Jhulan got past Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick to become the highest wicket-taker in women’s One-Day Internationals and the fast bowler thanked CAB for the unrelenting support. “Their (CAB’s) contribution is massive.”
Jhulan said that initially she was apprehensive of the facilities when she shifted base to Kolkata from Mumbai in 2005-06 but CAB supported her in every possible way.
“The first question that came to my mind was whether I would get the same kind of opportunities here. Preparation was always very important for me. Result won’t come without preparation. Most of the time we had the opportunity to practice alongside the men cricketers in Mumbai.
“I could bowl at the likes of Sameer Dighe, Praveen Amre when they played for Air India at one point of time. But now I’ve no hesitation in saying that I’m thankful to CAB for the way they have supported women’s cricket for last 10 years and created a platform.
“I am indebted to them and hope many more players come up in future. For last 10 years whenever I requested, the officials always provided me with practice facilities. I’m thankful to CAB officials and curator,” Jhulan said as she was handed a cheque of Rs. 10 lakh and a plaque by the Chief Minister and CAB president Sourav Ganguly.