Veteran India Women pacer Jhulan Goswami has yet again proved why she is still among the best in the world at the age of 38, as the speedster scalped four wickets to play a crucial role in the hosts five-match One Day International (ODI) series leveling win over South Africa Women on Tuesday (March 9).
The 38-year-old, who is already the highest wicket-taker in Women's ODIs with 231 scalps, returned with figures of 10-0-42-4 as India women dismissed South Africa Women’s team for 157 in the second ODI of the five-match ODI series in Lucknow on Tuesday.
She was ably supported by fellow seamer Mansi Joshi (2/23) and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3/37) in the second ODI. Following Goswami’s heroics with the ball, Smriti Mandhana played a match-winning knock of 80* to help India crush South Africa by 9 wickets to win the second ODI and level the ongoing five-match ODI series 1-1 on Tuesday in Lucknow.
Following her impressive show in the second ODI, Goswami has opened up about her consistent performance with the ball, saying representing her country is the biggest motivation for her and maintaining supreme fitness to come out strong on the field and stay relevant in the team.
Goswami said during the post-match interaction: “Representing India is the biggest motivation for me. I don't think you have to look elsewhere for motivation. You cannot belong to the team if you don't perform your best every day. It's important for us to maintain our fitness and come out strong on the field. It's not going to be easy.”
The Bengal pacer added, “When I retired from T20Is, the most important thing for me was to just focus on one format. I had niggles here and there. It was quite difficult for me to maintain (my fitness). Then I spent a lot of time in training.
I tried to do well every day. As for me, I was doing a lot of training since lockdown. I just kept following that. Representing India is my biggest achievement. That's my responsibility and job.”
She also said bowling first on the wicket for the second ODI was an advantage for the hosts.
The pacer continued, “It was a much-disciplined bowling attack today. Today our planning was absolutely spot on. It was an absolute team effort. There's a bit of moisture in the morning. But it was much easier in the second innings and the wicket turned pretty flat. You just need to play through the line. There's a bit of advantage there for the bowlers so far.”
India is all set to play a Test after more than six years in a one-off Test match against England and Goswami said, “Everyone is very excited. You always want to play Test cricket. That's actually a lot of challenges both physically and mentally. We thank BCCI for understanding the need of Test cricket.”
On the other hand, South Africa Women captain Sune Luus blamed their poor batting for the loss.
Sune signed off by saying, “It comes down to not having enough runs on the board. It was a fresh wicket today and quite a lot of movement. They bowled extremely well with the new ball. But we did not execute our shots. It's always going to be difficult when none of your top-four batters bats till 40 overs.”
(With PTI Inputs)