Jhulan Goswami has felt the pain of narrowly missing out on a World Cup trophy. And having seen the growth of women’s cricket while on the job, she feels India can overcome four-time champion Australia and its neighbours, New Zealand, in the group stage of the seventh ICC Women’s World T20 starting on Friday.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the other two teams in the group. Once in the knockouts, the veteran fast bowler trusts the girls to fight the nerve game better this time around.
“In the last edition of the tournament, we had beaten them in the group stage to reach the semifinal, which we lost unfortunately. But it is a different ball game from the semifinals. It can be anybody’s game. If you stay strong and hold your nerve, you can succeed,” Goswami told Sportstar ahead of the Cup.
England has been India’s nemesis in the knockouts.
Read: Harmanpreet: T20 World Cup victory will be very big for India
It beat India in the 50-over World Cup final at Lord’s in 2017 and a year later, in the World T20 semifinal in Antigua. But Goswami feels the Tri-Nation series, involving Australia and England, ahead of the tournament was good preparation for India. “We reached the final. We couldn’t win but the girls played really well. They even beat England [in the first match]. The side looks well-balanced and settled. We would want this side to finish on top. Topping an ICC tournament is important,” she added.
The team captains pose with the trophy. – AFP
India, a favourite
On account of their recent performances, the young Indian side is one of the favourites. “I am hopeful that Harman [Harmanpreet Kaur] will lead by example. There are other talented players like Shafali Varma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemi [Jemimah Rodrigues], Deepti [Sharma] and Poonam Yadav. If they do well, it will encourage the new generation of women to play cricket,” said Goswami, who retired from T20Is with 56 wickets in 68 matches.
Women’s day final
The final is scheduled to be played on International Women’s Day on March 8 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The organisers are expecting a footfall. Till now, the highest turnout at a women’s sports match is 90,185 — the FIFA Women’s World Cup final between USA and China in 1999 — at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
“If the girls can cash in on this opportunity, it will be a landmark event in Indian cricket. It will be full house. The way Australia is promoting the World Cup is amazing. I don’t think any other World Cup had this much publicity. Since the last two years, people are aware. It is getting better day by day,” said Goswami.