“Who is your favourite male cricketer?” Mithali Raj quips. “Do you ask Virat Kohli which woman cricketer is his favourite?” Despite the overwhelming majority of limelight, glamour, wealth publicity hype imparted upon male cricketers, Mithali Raj stood her ground without accepting the status of female cricketers in lesser footing.
When a cheeky journalist refers to her as “chak de girl” by drawing “inspiration” from a much-hyped Bollywood film revolving around women’s hockey, Jhulan promptly retorts: “I prefer to be known as Chakdah girl” with absolutely no hint of any inferiority complex revolving around her humble origin in a humbler environment (Chakdah, Nadia district).
A ‘pink test’ between Indian eves and their Australian counterparts in Carrara. Half-hearted appeal by the Aussie bowler and the wicketkeeper, umpire signalling ‘not out’, no provision of DRS to reverse the decision; yet Punam Raut walks off the field with her individual score being a not-so-handsome 36, thereby once again reminding us that all can be sacrificed for the sake of ethics – but ethics cannot be sacrificed for the sake of anything.
Following the Indo-Pak encounter in the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup, Pakistan cricket captain Bismah Maroof’s 6-month-old daughter Fatima had turned cynosure of all Indian eves.
“Lots of love to baby Fatima from India,” tweeted Smriti Mandhana. What a tight slap upon the faces of the hate mongers who divide god’s own children through petty barriers of religion and nationality.
These humble women cricketers of spine, self-respect, ethics, honesty and fighting spirit should be the true role models of the country.
No ugliness of toxic masculinity; no rhetoric of “patriotic” jingoism – rather it is nothing but poise, grace and civility when it comes to India’s women cricket where all things sanity dominate the show.
So it is hardly a wonder to notice the grace and divinity exemplified by the Indian eves revolving the retirement of Jhulan Goswami, who brought an end to her illustrious career with head held high by taking two crucial wickets and a fine catch to secure another historic victory for India at Lord’s.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur deserves special congratulations for paying due honour to the living legend by asking her to toss the coin. Kaur’s impeccable gesture and hugging Jhulan with both at their emotional best were not only indeed extremely moving, it also proves that the hearts of the Indian eves are in the right place.
The legacy left behind by Jhulan Goswami, and another, legend Mithali Raj, is sure to be successfully carried on by Harmanpreet Kaur and her band of courageous girls with hearts.