Australia series training ground for World Cup: Jhulan

October 10th, 2008 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 10 (IANS) New Indian women’s cricket captain Jhulan Goswami feels her side needs to concentrate on fielding and running between the wickets to do well in the upcoming tour to Australia, which is the team’s last international exposure ahead of next year’s World Cup.”It’s a very important series for us. It’s the last international series before the World Cup which is also to be played in Australia. So, if we do well there this time, then we will go to the World Cup high on confidence,” Jhulan, who turns 26 next month, said in an interview to IANS.

The 9th ICC women’s Cricket World Cup is slated to be held Down Under from March 7 to 22.

The eight participating teams have been divided into two groups, and India are clubbed with England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B.

Jhulan, rated as the fastest bowler in women’s cricket now, said both Australia and India had good sides, and the mentally stronger team would triumph in the series that involved five One-day Internationals and one Twenty-20 engagement.

She said the Indians now had a balanced side, with a fine blend of experience and youth.

“We have the ability to beat any team in the world. But we have to play to our potential. And everybody has to play her role.”

Asked about the team’s grey areas, Jhulan said: “We have to lay stress on fielding, and the running between the wickets also have to improve. After we meet in Mumbai for the camp scheduled to start next week, we will know where we are”. The Indians are scheduled to leave for Australia on October 18 or 19.

Goswami was appointed captain last week for the Australia tour in place of Mithali Raj.

“It is the most exciting moment of my life. I didn’t really expect it. But yes, like any other player, I also cherished a dream to lead my country. Bhalo lagchhe (It feels great),” said Jhulan, adjudged the ICC women’s cricketer of the year in 2007.

It has been an enviable journey for the girl from remote Chakdah in West Bengal’s Nadia district. Making her Test and ODI debut in 2002, Jhulan has emerged as the tormentor of batsmen with her searing pace that can go up to 120 kms per hour.

Another Bengal girl, allrounder Rumeli Dhar, has been named Jhulan’s deputy for the Aussie tour.

“She is junior to me by only 14 days. We played together in the under-19 level. We started out under-19 and international careers almost at the same time. We have a very good understanding. I cannot wait to sit with her and coach Sudha (Shah) to discuss the strategy,” Jhulan said.

Jhulan, who is the second highest Indian women’s wicket taker in ODIs with 104 scalps, said she does not think that a bowling captain is at a disadvantage.

“I don’t believe that a bowling captain tends to either underbowl or overbowl herself. A captain needs to find the right balance. Whoever bowls well will bowl”.

And despite her quality to generate great pace, Jhulan would focus on bowling to a perfect line and length.

“I shall stick to the basics. The main trick for a bowler is to maintain the right line and length. And I shall try to do that.”

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