Interview with Jhulan Goswami
Jhulan Goswami is, without a doubt, one of the finest women cricketers in the world. With an ICC Women’s Player of the Year award, Padma Shri and Arjuna Award under her belt, she has made sure that her name goes down in the history books. In a conversation with Taruka Srivastava, Jhulan spoke about the state of women’s cricket and her opinion about the IPL.
1. How hard is it making a break in the world of cricket?
I don't think it’s very tough. It’s like a ride. First you have to start from your district and then keep moving up until you reach your destination. Of course, lots of hard work and dedication are required to pursue the dream.
2. Do you think that cricket can still be called a gentleman's game?
Well yes, I think it can still be called that.
3. Do you follow the IPL? Which team do you support?
Although I do follow the IPL, I don't support any particular team. I enjoy all the exceptional performances by different great players. I go to the stadium here in Kolkata and watch the matches live. Chris Gayle has put up a phenomenal show this season and not just me, but the whole world enjoyed it. It’s a great achievement for cricket that so many people follow the IPL so keenly.
4. Do you think a tournament like the IPL would work for Indian women cricketers too?
I really wish they start something like that for women cricketers too. It would be revolutionary. Of course, Gayle-like performances can't be expected; nevertheless, the matches are bound to be quick and intense.
5. What do you think of RCB? Who are your favourite RCB players?
RCB is a very balanced side and has a great batting line-up. The RCB management took a great decision by declaring Virat Kohli as the captain. Virat has a great attitude and his positive agression is very impressive. I am sure in the future he will be leading the Indian side as well.
6. RCB has started 'RCB DIVA' a section dedicated to women fans and players. What are your views on it?
RCB is the only franchise which comes up with great initiatives in every edition of the IPL. Last time they came up with Green Campaign and this time RCB Diva. I think RCB Diva is a great concept, and in a way is helping to empower women. Women are following matches more than men these days, I have noticed. They are more enthusiastic about it and without them there would have been no glamour quotient.
7. A lot of men think women don't understand cricket. What do you have to say about that?
Well, that's not true at all. Women do understand cricket and in fact you will find that most of them, at least in India, follow cricket more than any other sport.
8. Do you think lack of popularity for women's cricket is restricted to India, or is it a global problem? Do you think the ICC is doing enough for the growth of women's cricket?
Well, contrary to the majority opinion I think the popularity of women's cricket has improved a lot. The World Cup which concluded recently in Mumbai saw spectators turning out in great numbers to cheer for the women teams. I have even come across kids who talk about women's cricket and even recognize players. The ICC has great ideas for the further development of women's cricket and they have my vote of confidence.
9. This IPL has seen the presence of a lot of female TV anchors and presenters. Do you think that is one of the ways that interest in the game can be generated among women?
Yes, and it already seems to be working well for the game. This way everyone understands a lot more. The media plays a big role in today's world. I hope they soon start covering a lot more of women's cricket than they do right now.
10. The female presenters have also received a bit of criticism for perhaps not being as well-versed with the game as their male counterparts. Do you think that is a valid criticism?
Well, everyone makes mistakes, and some people may not know every minute detail of the game, but that doesn't mean they don't know anything about it. I think having basic knowledge about the game is a prerequisite for talking about it, and I think the female presenters today do have that basic knowledge.
11. Who is your favourite male cricketer?
I have two favourite cricketers - Sachin Tendulkar and Glenn McGrath. They are both legendary players and I admire them deeply.
12. What would you say is your main strength as a bowler?
I can bowl consistently in the right directions and also some good yorkers.
13. If there was one batsman/batswoman from any point in cricket history whom you would have loved to bowl to, who would that batsman/batswoman be?
I would like to bowl against Sir Sachin Tendulkar and Chris Gayle.
14. What is your message to young girls in India who want to grow up to be cricketers?
I think young girls with an interest in sports should definitely think of playing cricket and consider it as a career option. It is also worthwhile to remember that to make it in professional cricket, you require a lot of hard work, sincerity and most importantly, you have to be true to yourself.