“For the past two years I thought every series could be my last, especially with Covid-19 postponing cricket until 2021,” said Goswami. “I went through a lot of injuries. I took it series by series. After the [2022 ODI] World Cup I thought the tour to Sri Lanka might be my last. But during the World Cup I got injured and I wasn’t fit enough to tour Sri Lanka. This is the last ODI series before the T20 World Cup (in February 2023), so I thought I would go to NCA [National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru]do a lot of rehab and come to England for my last series.”
“Do not do that [women’s IPL] announcement officially happen, and then I’ll decide,” she said. “At this point, I’m ending my career of international cricket.
“As a ball girl in the Women’s World Cup 1997, I saw the final in Eden Gardens between Australia and New Zealand, and that day I dreamed that one day I would represent my country. That’s how I started and a lot of commitment efforts just to to represent my country.”
“You’ll get injured and that’s when your character is needed to come back every time you fall. I felt then that it would have been better if I hadn’t been a fast bowler. I was a batter. I wouldn’t have so many injuries had”
“19-year-old Jhulan, when she debuted in Chennai in 2002, was absolutely raw,” she said. “She just wanted to bowl fast and take one wicket because she didn’t know if she could continue or not. She didn’t know if her performance could be sustained or not. Her goal was to just represent India and bowl fast. That desire to bowling fast stayed with me forever.”
“If we had won one [two World Cup finals]”It would have been great for Team India and women’s cricket,” she said. “That’s the ultimate goal for every athlete. When you work that hard you prepare for four years and when you win the trophy it is a dream come true. Unfortunately we played three finals including T20 [World Cup in 2020] but could not win the final. It has hurt feelings and that is one regret.”
When Goswami started, Indian women mainly played 50-overs cricket and four-day first-class cricket. However, with the T20s being used as the vehicle to drive women’s cricket around the world, days cricket gradually disappeared from the calendar. As a result, the way bowlers now prepare is vastly different from how she did.
“As a bowler, cricket changes day by day and there is more pressure on the bowlers because of the restrictions and how you prepare is the most important thing,” said Goswami. “You have to be skilled and it takes effort from both the player and the team. You can’t decide if you’re going to play for the next 10-12 years. You have to go season after season. You have to be fit, you have to be very strong to take the mental and physical pressure and perform in crunch situations. Now the girls are very professional and there are enough bowlers in this team. I am hopeful that the current pack will be playing for a long time to come.”
Goswami’s career had its share of injuries. She joked that she could have been better off if she had been a batter.
“Every time I got injured I realized I was going to miss the series. [and some] matches [and] had to sit back and not participate,” she said. “But that’s what a fast bowler is all about. You get hurt and that’s when your character has to come back every time you fall. I felt then that it would have been better if I hadn’t been a fast bowler. I then wished I should have been a batter. I hadn’t had that many injuries.”
S Sudarshanan is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo