Women in Blue look to whitewash Eng

| | London
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Women in Blue look to whitewash Eng

Saturday, 24 September 2022 | PTI | London

Jhulan Goswami, a name synonymous with 'fast bowling' in women's cricket, will walk into her cricketing sunset at the Lord's on Saturday and the Indian team will strive to make it a memorable swansong for her by completing a historic ODI series clean sweep on English soil, here.

Playing one game at Lord's is an ultimate dream for a cricketer.

Scoring a hundred or taking a five-for is a different high but bidding adieu to the game following an illustrious career at the 'Mecca of Cricket' is only reserved for a few chosen ones.

Sunil Gavaskar (although he played his last first-class game there) didn't get that opportunity. Neither did a Sachin Tendulkar or a Brian Lara or a Glenn McGrath got that opportunity to step down the stairs of the hallowed Long Room on their final playing day.

Even Goswami's colleague for nearly 20 years, Mithali Raj, couldn't retire from a cricket field.

But call it destiny or design, Goswami's last hurrah is happening at Lord's.

There couldn't have been a more iconic setting as the strapping 5 feet 11 inch lady walks her way through that Long Room where the MCC's 'suits' will stand up and her teammates will give her a 'Guard of Honour' when she will enter the ground.

A series already won with an unassailable 2-0 lead, Harmanpreet Kaur and her team would leave no stone unturned to make it a fitting farewell for one of the 'poster girls' of Indian cricket.

Having lost the T20I series, India did extremely well against a depleted England side in the two games where they dominated while chasing as well as while setting the target.

If the biggest gain is skipper Harmanpreet getting her touch and free-flowing self back with innings of 74 not out and 143 not out, the worry has been Shafali Verma's patchy form throughout the tour.

Harleen Deol has done well to establish herself as a dependable middle-order batter but with Goswami's retirement, the seam attack comprising Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur and Pooja Vastrakar would need to step-up a lot more.

As far as England is concerned, the absence of skipper Heather Knight (due to injury) and star all-rounder Nat Sciver (mental health break) impacted the team's balance hugely.

The last time Indian women won an ODI series in England was way back in 1999 when Goswami hadn't made her international debut.

So as she appears for her 204th and last game, Indian team's revered "Jhulu Di" would know that she is a contented soul.

When she had first played for India, Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh were not even born and Jemimah Rodrigues was perhaps in her nappies.

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