File photo of Jhulan Goswami
Cricket

Chakdaha Express Chugging Along: Jhulan’s Four Impressive Spells

As a teenager, Jhulan Goswami used to make a taxing four-hour journey in the jam-packed local trains thrice a week from her hometown Chakdaha to Kolkata for cricket coaching. Little did she know then that she would one day become the first woman cricketer to enter the 200 wickets club, a feat she achieved on Wednesday, 7 February, against South Africa.

More than a decade-and-a-half since bursting onto the international scene as a 19-year old, Jhulan still continues to be the quickest bowler in the women’s game. Standing tall at 5’11”, Goswami has been India’s spearhead for years and has used her height to great effect to generate good bounce, along with being accurate and consistent.

Among her many firsts, the Chakdah Express, as Jhulan is fondly called, was also the first Indian female cricketer to win the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women’s Cricketer of the Year award in 2007.

With the three names after Jhulan in the highest wicket takers list already retired, we can safely assume that Jhulan’s record is here to stay for a while, at least.

En route to her record, Jhulan entertained all with many a magical spell, troubling the opposition who had no clue of how to tackle her.

Here are Jhulan’s four impressive spells.

1. 3/23 vs England, Lord’s, in 2017

Before the knockout stage of the World Cup, the seamer had an ordinary outing. She had taken only five wickets in the first seven games.

But the fighter in Goswami made her presence felt in the knockout stages . In what was likely to be her last World Cup, India’s strike bowler took five wickets in the next two matches – the semifinal against Australia and final against England.

Her spell with the old ball at Lord’s was game changing. With the new ball, she was economic with figures of 5-2-9-0, even as England openers put up a strong partnership.

Jhulan was brought back into the attack in the 33rd over and she didn’t disappoint as she got the much-needed breakthrough in that over itself.

After getting Sarah Taylor’s wicket, she trapped Sciver and Wilson LBW to finish the match with brilliant figures of 10-3-23-3.

2. 5/16 vs England, Silchar, in 2005

In bowler-friendly conditions at Silchar, bthe English batters had no clue as Jhulan, who tore through the line-up with a career-best 5 for 16.

Jhulan had reduced England to 18/6. Jenny Gunn was the only player in the line-up who reached double figures. England ended their innings at 50 runs, but not before Jhulan picked up her fifth victim.

India not only went on to win that match but also won the five-match series.

3. 5/11 vs Australia, Visakhapatnam, in 2012

India had lost the first four games and were trying to salvage their pride. Jhulan Goswami and Archana Das produced magical spells to make sure the hosts had at least a solitary victory to show for what had been a disappointing home series.

Jhulan began by bowling Alyssa Healy and Lisa Sthalekar as Australia were reduced to 22 for 2.

Jhulan in the end managed to clean up the tail in spectacular fashion. Ellyse Perry was caught behind off the second ball off the 19th over. Jhulan later bowled Erin Osborne and made it three wickets in four balls by repeating the feat to dismiss Sharon Millanta. Australia were all-out for 89.

Jhulan finished the match with 3.5-1-11-5. Out of her five scalps, four of them were bowled.

4. 6/31 vs New Zealand, Southgate in 2011

Jhulan Goswami's career-best haul of 6 for 31 was unfortunately for a losing cause as India slumped to a 39-run loss.

Jhulan was responsible for all the breakthroughs as other bowlers accounted for one wicket.

She ended the match with a figure of 10-1-31-6.

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