Men have raised the bar: Jhulan
Virat is 100 per cent right in expressing himself, says the experienced pacer
Calcutta: She stands tall in India's women's cricket and is a role model for many. But Jhulan Goswami, the first to reach the 200-wicket mark in women's ODI cricket, doesn't mind saying that the men's team, led by Virat Kohli, is an inspiration for them.
Jhulan has come back home from South Africa without playing the ongoing T20I series as she is nursing a heel injury. India won the preceding ODI series, a part of the ICC Women's Championship, 2-1.
During an interaction at her residence on Thursday evening, Jhulan said: "We were closely following how the men's team were playing in South Africa... What length they were bowling, how they were adapting... Look, the men's team have always been an inspiration for us, for they have raised the bar so high. That motivates us.
"Nowadays everybody is inspired by Kohli's attitude, his work ethic, his fitness... We always need an idol in front of us to follow. Earlier it used to be Sachin Tendulkar, nowadays it is Virat. The pressure under which the Indian men's team plays, is a lesson for all of us. We always talk about that, learn from that," she added.
The current Indian men's team's daredevilry is rubbing off on others, Jhulan feels, and see finds an Australian angle in it. "That's how Australian women's cricket developed... The mindset changes when you see the other team performing at a high level. That is happening in Indian cricket too. Just look at how the India U-19 team played in the World Cup," she explained.
But what is her assessment of Virat's aggression, a much-debated topic. "Aggression is an individual thing. Virat is 100 per cent right in expressing himself, after all he is getting the results. So it doesn't matter... There shouldn't be so much talk about it," Jhulan, rich with over 15 years of international cricket experience, said.
The 35-year-old revealed that Sachin Tendulkar's tips helped them a lot to tame the South Africans on their home soil.
"This South Africa series was very important as it was part of the ICC Women's Championship... We were well prepared. We had a camp in Mumbai for six-seven days... We had an interaction with Sachin there, discussed with him all the finer points of playing in South Africa... How the wickets will be, how to attack, what adjustments are needed... He shared his experience with us," she said.
"We also played a practice match so that we were better acquainted with the conditions. When you prepare well, you get good results. We didn't want anybody to call our (runners-up) performance in the World Cup a fluke... We wanted to carry that momentum into this series and we succeeded in that," she added.
The ball with which she took her 200th ODI wicket during the second ODI against South Africa, at Kimberley, has made its way into her trophy cabinet. But for Jhulan, 200 is just a number.
"When I started playing cricket, I never thought about any number. My only focus was on establishing myself. When you play for 15-16 years, you will always reach a few milestones. It feels good... 200 is a big number on the cricket field. But I never played for milestones, always wanted the team to win and ensure that I had some contribution in that win. But yes, when milestones come, I do enjoy," she said.
Jhulan will be going to the NCA in Bangalore in the next few days for an assessment of her injury. "Staying fit is most important. This is the third time that I have suffered this injury. As long as I am fit and enjoying the game, I will continue. I am playing my best cricket now. I will stop when I don't enjoy anymore. Be assured, I will not hold on to my place in the team," she signed off with a smile.