India pacers Jhulan
Goswami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar discussed how they honed their skill with the new ball, the art of seam and swing bowling and the big wickets they got in the domestic circuit in a video chat with cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana.
The Indian youngsters had the two pacers as their guest for their video interview series titled ‘Double Trouble’ and quizzed them about coming into the Indian team, getting the wickets of batting greats Sachin Tendulkar and Mithali Raj early in their career, among other things.
On being asked by Mandhana about her first wicket in domestic cricket, Goswami recounted the fascinating story of her first meeting with Mithali Raj. The ODI captain had already played international cricket in England and was considered a big deal in Indian cricket.
“We were playing Rae Bareilly and someone told me this is Mithali Raj, she has already played for India at her age,” Goswami said.
“In those days there used to be a waterproof watch, and I was told that if I can get this girl out on zero I could get such a watch. I said let’s try. Those days she used to open and on the first ball I got her bowled. So first wicket was Mithali,” the veteran pacer said during the interaction, joking about 19-year-old Rodrigues was probably not even born when this happened.
Bhuvneshwar also recounted the time he dismissed Tendulkar on a duck.
“Sachin’s wicket was lucky for me because the position he was caught at was neither short leg nor midwicket [an in-between position]. So that credit goes to Mohammad Kaif, who was our captain and set the field, I only bowled the ball,” he said.
Goswami, the most successful bowler in women’s cricket with 225 ODI wickets, revealed how she became the consistently disciplined bowler she is today.
Talking about why she picked up seam blowing, she said she had no idea about any alternative. “When I started I didn’t know much about this. I was told to bowl as fast as you can and I can’t compare with the men, but among the girls I was told to bowl as fast I can. I didn’t concentrate much on swing because of my height probably.
“I was told to hit the seam at three-quarter length as much as I can... if I hit the seam off the wicket, there will be some movement which will trouble the batter. I have adjusted my action and run up a little over the years but have not tinkered with my basic strength,” she said.
Goswami spoke about how the importance of line and length was stressed upon her as a youngster and that’s why after her practice she would bowl five to six overs extra after her regular session to get her target bowling right.
For Bhuvneshwar, the initiation into swing bowling was a consequence of growing up in Meerut.
“My swing was mostly natural as well. I come from Meerut, where there are a lot of sports factories so because of that I had a new ball to bowl and practice with daily. That really helped because along the way my swing improved with the new ball and knew how to swing it both ways. It’s a natural habit now,” he explained.
The two pacers also swapped stories about trying to maintain their fitness during the ongoing lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“Maintaining fitness during the lockdown has been a challenge because I don’t have a gym at home. It’s the biggest problem I am facing and most are facing it too. So have been relying on the old school equipment and whatever is there at home to train… I got a few bricks for training, free hand exercises and such,” Goswami said.
“I tried to use table for exercises and my wife said no don’t use that,” Bhuvneshwar added with a laugh, adding that he is trying to make sure he doesn’t have to start from zero when the lockdown ends.
You can watch the full video here: