Huge revelation today – Quinton de Kock bid adieu to Test Cricket at the age of 29 after India brushed them aside in the first Test at Centurion. For more than a decade, South Africa have suffered a loss of talent to England through the Kolpak deal and now they have lost yet another great player, this time to overkill of cricket.
What Has South African Cricket Been Through Recently?
From being the #1 Test side for over a decade to becoming the “team in transition,” things have been far from ideal for South African cricket fans.
AB De Villiers retired from all of cricket, finally quashing the “Will he-Won’t he-Should he Return” debate. Faf du Plessis (retired from Tests to focus on T20I comeback), Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris have been shunted out from national selection due to their T20 leagues commitments. Dale Steyn hung up his boots, while Vernon Philander, Hashim Amla (lack of form) and Morne Morkel (now an Australian citizen) retired prematurely and took Kolpak deals post-retirement. In 2021, the domestic system has been restructured, SJN (Social Justice and briefly Nation Building) report has sparred nobody including Boucher-Smith, and the QDK kneeling controversy has further added to the fuel.
Only the 4/5 wins and positive brand of cricket in the 2021 T20 World Cup was a shining light. That too ended in a traditional disqualification due to net run rate.
However, since Brexit the Kolpak deal no longer holds, and the players are eligible for comeback. Blessing Muzarabani has been a ray of hope for Zimbabwe while David Wiese (ex-South African international) had a stellar T20 World Cup with Namibia. Wayne Parnell became the 1st official Kolpak player to make a comeback while Duanne Olivier is inching closer and closer.
Can Kolpak South African cricketers revive the Proteas ill-fated destiny?
Build 2 World XIs:
(1) A current XI of Kolpak South African Exodus players who are eligible for a South African comeback (Note they do not have to be contracted by a domestic team yet. Only that they are not retired and could comeback sometime in the future)
(2) An All-Time Best XI of Kolpak Players (retired)
The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper.
*Note this does NOT include the list of players who were born in South Africa and are now settled in different countries representing England, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Netherlands, USA, etc. Those players are in the list linked below.
Overall around 69 cricketers have taken up Kolpak deals at some points in their career (49 from South Africa, 6 Zimbabwe, 2 New Zealand, and 12 West Indies – 7 Barbados, 3 Jamaica, 1 Trinidad and Tobago, 1 Guyana).
Additionally, around 39 cricketers were born in South Africa but have represented other countries & left South Africa earlier like Devon Conway and Kevin Pietersen. Then there are some like Dawid Malan (born in England, raised in South Africa, went back to England for international cricket) and Dane Piedt (left for USA but has not played an international for them yet), who are in neither of those lists.
Hence, there are at least 80 high profile cricketers that were from South African origin but did not represent the Proteas for at least some portion of their careers (Remember SA was banned from international cricket due to Apartheid in the 1980s, which was the beginning of the exodus).
Let us add another layer. Due to overkill of cricket, politics, and financial opportunities, AB De Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, and Graeme Smith retired relatively early. Others took up coaching opportunities outside, further weakening the domestic circuit.
*Grant Elliot is a South African born cricketer, who played for New Zealand and later took a Kolpak deal after retiring from New Zealand duty.
Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Western Province, South Africa A
SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland
Claim To Fame
Stiaan van Zyl became the 100th player to score a Test century on debut and yet, he left for England after just 12 Tests.
What did South Africa Miss?
A top order batter who could bowl fast medium, South Africa missed the balance (especially after Kallis’ retirement), reserve depth in batting, and a weaker domestic system without a batter of his caliber.
A swashbuckling opening batter in limited overs (Think Brendon McCullum-Martin Guptill-Colin Munro esque) who was ahead of his times when the T20 format was in its infancy. Could have been an ideal foil for QDK-Amla at the top in T20Is.
3. Rilee Rossouw (2016)
International Debut:August 20, 2014International Matches: 36 ODIs, 15 T20Is
Previous Teams: Free State, Eagles, South Africa A, South Africa U-19
SA Domestic Team (Current):Knights (T20)
Claim to Fame
After beginning his international career with a series of ducks, he stabilized his spot in the international team with3 ODI hundreds, 7 fifties and two T20I fifties (here is his 78 vs Australia, where he overshadowed the likes of QDK, Miller, and Duminy).
Played the 2015 ODI World Cup and the 2016 T20 World Cup. Now sought after in T20 leagues around the world.
What did South Africa Miss?
The messiest exit of all and the one that hurt the most. South Africa had heavily invested in Rossouw, and he had become the next big middle order player in the South African line-up, one that would almost certainly replace the great AB De Villiers. Rossouw exited over an iPhone email to coach Russell Domingo and even spelled Domingo’s first name incorrectly. Scored a century in his last ODI (122 vs Australia) and was the player of the series in that series (311 runs). Little did Protea fans know that it was to be his final time in South African colors.
4. Heino Kuhn – WK (2018)
International Debut:July 6-9, 2017International Matches: 4 Tests, 7 T20Is
Age Left: 33 Age Now: 37
County Team: Kent (Northerns earlier)
Previous Teams: Titans, South Africa A
SA Domestic Team (Current):North West
Claim To Fame
Overall 11,000 first class runs with 24 hundreds and 58 fifties. Did not light up the international circuit in his short stay, but is a stalwart of South African domestic circuit.
What did South Africa Miss?
Left after CSA conveyed the message to him that his chances at international cricket would be limited. The domestic circuit was further weakened by his exit in his first class prime.
Previous Teams: Free State, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa A
T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Trinbago Knight Riders, St. Lucia Zouks, Oval Invincibles, Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers, Delhi Capitals
SA Domestic Team (Current):Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet
Claim To Fame
With 3 ODI hundreds and 3 fifties in ODIs and a 78 in T20Is, he had a decent limited overs career. However, these days he is known for being the most famous South African T20 export, playing in almost all leagues around the world.
Stability in the middle order in limited overs cricket. It is clear after 15 years of T20I cricket that boundary percentage, pressure situation experience, and T20 leagues are the backbone of world winning T20I sides. Apart from Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and AB De Villiers, Colin Ingram would have bolstered SA in this regard.
6. Dane Vilas – WK
International Debut:March 30, 2012International Matches: 6 Tests, 1 T20I
Age Left: 30 Age Now: 36
County Team: Lancashire
Previous Teams: South Western Districts, Lions, Cape Cobras, South Africa A, South Africa XI
SA Domestic Team (Current):Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet
Claim to Fame
Has scored over 9700 first class runs with 22 centuries. Appeared in the movie Hansie as Allan Donald.
What did South Africa Miss?
SA missed out on a great wicket-keeping substitute. AB De Villiers took the burden as keeper for most of his career. and Quinton de Kock’s entry signaled the end of Vilas’ international career. However South Africa would have liked long-term wicket-keeping reserves just like India had Parthiv Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, and Rishabh Pant in case of injury to MS Dhoni (or playing alongside for an extended batting order).
Reserve depth in the medium pace allrounder-finisher slot. After Viljoen, Wiese, & Parnell left, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, and Wiaan Mulder were the only names left. With Morris’ strained relationship with CSA and Phehlukwayo’s loss of form, SA does not have many options anymore. At only 32 and back in SA domestic circuit, there may be an opening for a comeback.
County Team: Worcestershire (Sussex, Kent earlier)
Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa U-19, South Africa A
T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Barbados Tridents, Pune Warriors, Delhi Daredevils
SA Domestic Team (Current):Western Province
Claim To Fame
Youngest player to get a CSA contract after his early age/U-19 World Cup heroics, Parnell burst onto the scene around the 2009 T20 World Cup. Good performances lead to a great IPL deal, and Parnell became a rising star.
He played in a couple more World Cups but injuries meant other bowlers jumped ahead in the pecking order. He left for a Kolpak deal but has come back, still only 32.
What did South Africa Miss?
A left-arm seamer for variation. Marco Jansen grabbed eyeballs with his great debut against India, but that is exactly what South Africa have been missing. Among the Steyn-Morkel-Philander-Rabada-Nortje generation, there haven’t been as many left-arm swing bowlers in the last decade for South Africa apart from Parnell (like Boult, Starc, and Shaheen). Good allrounder as well.
9. Simon Harmer (2016)
International Debut:Jan 1-5, 2015, International Matches: 5 Tests
Age Left: 27 Age Now: 32
County Team: Essex
Previous Teams: Border, Warriors, Eastern Province, South African Universities, South Africa A
SA Domestic Team (Current):Titans
Claim To Fame
He is well known for self-acclaimed statement that he is the best-off spinner in the world. With 719 first class wickets and the highest wicket-taker in England first class for the last five years, that may actually be true (along with Nathan Lyon and Ravichandran Ashwin).
Although leg spinners were in demand in 2010s (Tahir) and left arm spinners are now at the top of the demand list (Maharaj, Shamsi, Fortuin, Linde), they have been missing a world class off spinner. Aiden Markram’s off-spin can only take you so far…
County Team: Hampshire (Middlesex, Worcestershire other teams)
T20 Leagues: Pune Warriors, Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Lahore Qalandars
Previous Teams: Dolphins, Warriors, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa A
SA Domestic Team (Current):Boland
Claim To Fame
With Steyn-Morkel-Philander at their peak, Abbott did not get consistent opportunities but made the most of it when he was given a chance, especially in limited overs. The 2015 World cup semi-final broke the backbone of the South African team as an injured Vernon Philander was picked (due to political interference/quota system) over Kyle Abbott, the man in-form. South Africa lost, and slowly began to crumble.
Abbott announced his Kolpak decision after everything had been confirmed (without informing CSA) on the same day as Rilee Rossouw—the ultimate double jolt.
What did South Africa Miss?
South Africa missed a smooth transition between the Steyn-Morkel generation and the Rabada-Ngidi generation. Abbott had been earmarked as the next leader in line but that did not happen. Thankfully, Rabada had a great couple of years and Nortje followed it up with a good partnership.
International Debut:Jan 12-14, 2017, International Matches: 10 Tests, 2 ODIs
Age Left: 26 Age Now: 29
County Team: Yorkshire
Previous Teams: Free State, Knights, South Africa U-19
T20 Teams: Jaffna Stallions, Jozi Stars
SA Domestic Team (Current):Lions
Claim To Fame
48 Test wickets in 10 matches at an average of 19.25, what a brilliant start to his career. In the second series against Pakistan, he took two 5-fers in a match and went onto take 24 wickets in the series (best haul in a 3-match series since 1902-03), thereby becoming the player of the series.
What did South Africa Miss?
When one door opens, another closes.
Abbott left on January 1st, 2017. Olivier began his journey on January 12th, 2017. It looked like South Africa had found a replacement right away. It worked in their favor for about two short years, before he was picked by Yorkshire. Broken dreams for South African fans again.
12. Marchant de Lange (2017)
International Debut:Dec 26-29, 2011, International Matches: 2 Tests, 4 ODIs, 6 T20Is
Age Left: 25 Age Now: 31
County Team: Glamorgan
Previous Teams: Eastern, Free State, Titans, Knights, Pretoria University, South Africa Academy
SA Domestic Team (Current):Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet
Claim To Fame
In a bowling attack comprising of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, and Jacques Kallis, de Lange came up with figures of 23.2-3-81-7 in his debut bowling performance.
What did South Africa Miss?
Unfortunately, injuries meant he could never cement a place in the South African squad and hence, took the Kolpak deal in 2017. Still only 31 and the joint highest wicket taker in the Hundred, he could be a dark horse for a comeback.
13. Cameron Delport (holds a British passport and signed with Essex – plays T20 leagues around the world)
14. Farhaan Behardien, former South African T20 captain, has signed with Durham (before Brexit so his future is safe with them) but has not played yet due to COVID.
*This does not include Dane Piedt & Juan (Rusty) Theron, who have gone to the United States as an alternate option.
List of All-Time Kolpak South African Players
South Africa Exodus XI
Faf du Plessis (2007, came back again)
Neil McKenzie (2010)
Jacques Rudolph (2007, came back to SA again; later went back to England as an overseas player)
Hashim Amla (2019)
Ashwell Prince (2013)
Justin Kemp (2008)
Andrew Hall (2008)
David Wiese (2017)
Paul Harris (2006, came back again)
Ryan Maclaren (2007, came back to SA again; later came back to England as an overseas player)
Morne Morkel (2018)
First Choice Squad:
12. Alfonso Thomas (2008), 13. Lance Klusener, 14. Shaun Pollock (2008), 15. Nicky Boje (2008), 16. Vernon Philander (signed but cancelled), 17. Charl Langeveldt (2008), 18. Andre Nel (2009)
Squad: 19. Claude Henderson, 20. Greg Smith (2004), 21. Riki Wessels, 22. Charl Willoughby, 23. Martin van Jaarsveld, 24. Zander de Bruyn (2005), 25. Garnett Kruger, 26. Tyron Henderson (2007), 27. Dillon du Preez, 28. Dominic Telo, 29. Friedel de Wet, 30. Johan van der Wath, 31. Nantie Hayward (2008), 32. Johann Myburgh (2011), 33. Gareth Roderick (2012), 34. Alviro Peterson (2015), 35. Daryn Smit – WK (2017)
List of Non-South African Kolpak Players
Dwayne Smith (2008, West Indies – Barbados)
Brendon Taylor – WK/Captain (2015, Zimbabwe, later came back)
Murray Goodwin (2005, Zimbabwe)
Grant Flower (2004, Zimbabwe)
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2017, West Indies – Guyana)
Grant Elliot (2017, New Zealand)
Brendan Nash (2013, West Indies – Jamaica, born in Australia)
Wavell Hinds (2008, West Indies – Jamaica)
Kyle Jarvis (2013, Zimbabwe)
Blessing Muzarabani (2018, Zimbabwe, later came back)
Fidel Edwards (2015, West Indies – Barbados, later came back)
12. Ravi Rampaul (2016, West Indies – Trinidad & Tobago), 13. Ottis Gibson (2004, West Indies – Barbados), 14. Miguel Cummins (2019, West Indies – Barbados), 15. Tino Best (2017, West Indies – Barbados), 16. Pedro Collins (2007, West Indies – Barbados), 17. Corey Collymore (2008, West Indies – Barbados), 18. Jermaine Lawson (2008, West Indies – Jamaica, later moved to the USA), 19. Andre Adams (2008, New Zealand), 20. Anthony Ireland (2007, Zimbabwe)
What Was the Kolpak Deal?
The Kolpak ruling was named after Maros Kolpak (handball player from Slovakia) by the European Court of Justice. It was submitted on 28 November, 2000 and decided on 8 May, 2003.
County cricket had limited each team to have at most one overseas player. Earlier in 1995, the Bosman ruling had already admitted players from EU (like the Netherlands) to be considered as domestic players. The Kolpak ruling now allowed citizens of other countries with EU Association Agreements to have the same rights to work. Hence, a cricketer from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, or Barbados did not eat up the overseas spots of counties.
However, they had to give up their international career until the Kolpak contract expired.
Why Did Kolpak Deal End?
With Brexit, the UK withdrew from the European Union (effective 31 January, 2020), thereby ceasing the Kolpak deal.
Can Kolpak players play for South Africa?
Yes, Kolpak players can now play for South Africa. They are already able to be picked for domestic South African sides. Wayne Parnell has played his first ODI upon return and Duanne Olivier has been picked in the India Test squad.
Has Kolpak ended?
Yes, Kolpak has ended as of January 31st, 2020, when the United Kingdom officially exited from the European Union.
Why do South African cricketers leave South Africa?
South African cricketers leave South Africa for multiple reasons—financial opportunities, administrative drama, quota system, Apartheid, passport of another country through family citizenship, and decreasing value of the South African Rand (7.81 rands = $1 in Jan 30, 2012 to 18.52 on April 29, 2020).
83 Movie Review – The much-anticipated Bollywood film on India’s unlikely 1983 World Cup victory has hit the theaters.
Watch it or Skip It? Here is my 83 movie review. Comment on what you thought of the movie. Below my Verdict, you will see India’s 1983 match scorecards, highlights of the semi-finals and finals, interviews, and the trailer/clips from the movie.
83 is unlike any sports movie out there. Rather, it is an extended highlight reel (which has been shot spectacularly well) of the 1983 World Cup from the point of view of the players sprinkled in with some inspirational music.
The movie begins with that Viv Richards’ shot in the 1983 World Cup Final. Madan Lal’s seemingly innocuous delivery, Richards attempted pull, Yashpal Sharma closing in, and Kapil Dev running towards and completing that catch.
The movie pivots back to the months prior to the World Cup, where the Indian cricket team receives the invitation to the 1983 Prudential World Cup and manager PR Man Singh starts his preparation for the tour.
The rest of the movie is set in England. 83’s theme revolves around doubt cast by the rest of the world on Kapil Dev’s team and how they overcame it. The Indian cricket board, MCC officials, English journalist David Firth, Indian journalists, Indian fans, the commentators, and even some of the players themselves—none of them gave Team India a chance.
In order to NOT spoil the movie for you, I am not going to go in the details but let me lay out the general idea.
The rest of the movie basically dives into each and every fixture for India in the World Cup—What happened between each match, the conversations in the dressing room and net practices, the shenanigans in the hotel or bus during downtime, cultural influence back home, support from wives and family, and finally, the tension in the match itself. The direction of Kapil Dev’s 175* is the best moment of the movie, giving life to an innings uncovered due to BBC’s strike.
Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of Kapil Dev is spot on with accurate bowling action, accent, and leadership moments. Another character who is central to the movie is Pankaj Tripathi as PR Man Singh. He is the glue that keeps the movie together.
With Ranveer Singh highlighting the show, I had an underlying fear that he would overshadow the rest of the characters.
This could not have been farther from the truth as each actor came into his own just like each of the actual players coming to the party in the 83 WC. Ammy Virk (Sandhu) and Jiiva’s (Srikkanth) comic timing, Jatin Sarna’s (Sharma) fluency, and Tahir Raj Bhasin’s embodiment as Sunil Gavaskar with his subdued demeanor add immense value to the movie.
Even though they do not get as much screen time, Saqib Saleem (as Amarnath) and Nishant Dahiya (Roger Binny) shine and provide the best moments in the film while portraying their vulnerable side. From Patil & Shastri to Kirmani & Sunil Valson, each character has been given due role.
Boman Irani’s (Farokh Engineer) commentary acts like the fourth wall, conveying the differences in perception between the rising Indian dressing room and the outside world.
The beauty of this movie is that halfway in the movie you will feel like you are watching the actual players and are hooked into the storyline.
83 Movie Review – The Verdict: To Watch or Not to Watch?
Pros: Screenplay; Chemistry Between the Actors; Seamless Immersion of Real-Life Photos in the movie
Cons: Climax Ends Too Quickly (Not much focus on post-match speeches or the aftermath); Political References Interrupting flow of the World Cup
Is 83 the greatest sporting movie of all time? No, not even close.
Remember the Titans, the Rocky movies, Last Dance documentary, Moneyball, and Invictus all rank higher up that list. In terms of Bollywood, Chak de India, Lagaan, Iqbal, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag are the golden standard.
Comparing 83 to any other sports movies would be an injustice. You see, there isn’t a rousing emotional speech in this one. There isn’t much background of players’ personal lives either like other stereotypical sport movies. The sole focus is on the couple of months preceding June 25th, 1983, and they do this exceedingly well.
The movie’s delivery is simple because Kapil Dev was a simple man.
The strength of 83 lies in the inside jokes and stories. We may have heard a few of them during the numerous interviews over the years, but 83 has breathed life into these characters on the big screen.
Credit to the writers of the movie for infusing little details like Keki Tarapore’s influence on Indian fast bowling and for illuminating on the aura of West Indian players at that time—Captain Clive Lloyd, Sir Vivian Richards, and the fast-bowling unit, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, and Malcolm Marshall.
If you are a cricket fan, this is a 5/5.You will enjoy each and every moment of this movie. If you are watching objectively from a film critic point of view, there is a little more left to be desired at the very end.
While it cannot be claimed that this is the single greatest underdog story in sporting history, it definitely ranks among the top. What India’s 1983 journey can claim is the Most Consequential Underdog story.
In 83, you will see that Team India came in with dire financial situation and zero expectations. The Indian cricket board facility looks archaic, allowance per day & food is at a bare minimum, the 83 WC is just a stopping point for a self-funded trip to Miami, and there is no respect from the cricketing world.
The only WC game India had won so far was against East Africa (1975), and they even lost to Sri Lanka in 1979, a team with no Test status back then (equivalent of USA defeating Ireland in today’s world).
Fast forward 30 years, the BCCI controls world cricket as a multi-billion-dollar governing body, depth of Indian cricket is unparalleled, cricket is central to India’s culture and economy, and the Indian Premier League, limitless sponsorships, world class facilities & coaches are a given.
India is at a great position today due to the efforts & hard work of these men in 1983. If there was ever a fairytale story to get inspiration from, this is it. Never lose hope despite outside noises. Keep believing – you never know, it might come true.
I will leave you with one final thought – What if India had NOT won the 1983 World Cup? What if Kapil Dev had dropped Richards? If Dev had failed to arrest the slide at 17–5, with the 175*, would we be playing the Zimbabwe Premier League today?
Sounds okay but could be better. Let us try again.
Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami—The Eternal Legends? Scratch that. How about
Goswami & Raj: Stalwarts that Let the Flame Burning for India’s Women Cricket.
I have to be brutally honest here. I had a tough time finishing this article.
It took me weeks. I mean how could I summarize such long careers, awe-aspiring legacies, and inspirational stories with a mere couple of phrases? In fact, it took me an entire day just to research just the sheer number of records and awards these two possess (all of them listed below).
103 days away from the 2022 Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup Final, let us look back at the glorious careers of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami—Where Did It all begin? Statistics and legacies, ups and downs, the final hurrah, and of course what can we learn from the lives of India’s best women batter and fastest bowler?
It has been 8216 days and 7291 days since Mithali Raj’s and Jhulan Goswami’s debut respectively. That is a really long time, let alone for a sporting career. Let us trace back to where it all began.
Jhulan Goswami did not actually start playing cricket till the relatively late age of 15. It was the 1997 ODI World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand that sowed the seeds of cricket deep into her roots.
She was a ball picker in that World Cup final at the Eden Gardens when Australia’s World Cup winning celebrations ignited her passion to take up the sport.
It was now her dream to lift the World Cup trophy for India.
Mithali Raj’s talent was picked early, and she was in the national radar by the time she was 14. However, actually devoting her career to cricket was not such an easy decision.
Early Decisions, Discipline, and the Passion to Excel
In their interviews with Gaurav Kapur in Breakfast With Champions and Mithali Raj’s chat with Ravichandran Ashwin in DRS With Ash, we gain a bit of insight in their lives—Raj’s early interest & training in the Indian classical dance form of Bharatnatyam, her fascination with books, and what obstacles both Goswami & Raj had to overcome during their journey.
Although both of their parents were supportive of their decisions to play cricket, there was backlash from extended family and the rest of society, especially when women’s cricket in India was in its infancy. Raj states that her toughest decision was to choose World Cup selection games over her 12th grade board exams. In any case, they both started training in cricket academies, disciplined their routines, and woke up around 4 AM to get ready for practice.
In Raj’s case, the discipline stemmed from an army family background. For Jhulan, originally from the small town of Chakdaha, it was the two hours travel by train for practice.
It was an evident in their early days of international cricket that these two were going to make an indelible impact in Indian cricket.
Opening the batting, Raj scored 114* against Ireland in her debut ODI on 26 June, 1999 just at the age of 16. Goswami would follow suit on January 5th, 2002, opening the bowling against England and returning with figures of 7-0-15-2. Her high arm release, bowling speed, and the beautiful smooth action would be a breath to behold in the years to come.
Records and Statistics of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami
In these tributes, I usually like to add a statistics section to paint the whole picture of the cricketer, but this one is a bit unique. Since Raj & Goswami have played so much cricket & have been consistently excellent, they practically have all the individual records to their name.
Slowly scroll down, sit back, and just reflect how dominant these two legends have been for two decades.
Joint Records Held by Raj & Goswami
2nd – Joint Longest Test Careers (debut 14 January, 2002)
157 – Highest Partnership for the 7th Wicket in Test Cricket (Aug 14-17, 2002)
Mithali Raj Stats
Mithali Raj Career Statistics
Mithali Raj Records
Leading scorer in women’s cricket across formats (10454+)
Only Indian captain to lead the country in two ODI World Cup finals
3rd Youngest Test Captain (At 22)
Youngest Player to score 200+ (19)
2nd Highest Individual Score (214)
Most Runs (7391* and counting)
Longest ODI Career (Debut: 26 Jun 1999)
Most Career Matches (220)
Most Consecutive Matches (109 – Between April 2004-February 2013)
Jhulan Goswami’s best days came between 2006 & 2008. Her all-round form (3-46 & 2-62, 69 at #3, 5-33 & 5-45) helped India win a Test series in England on her way to become the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
World Cup Dream
Although Raj & Goswami have accomplished almost everything in the sport, there is one elusive achievement they have yet to realize—the World Cup dream.
Mithali Raj has played in 5 ODI World Cups, dating back to the 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, when India made the semi-finals. Next time in 2005, both Jhulan & captain made the team. It would be India’s first run to the World Cup final, losing to Australia. Raj was India’s highest scorer with 199 runs (5th overall), and Jhulan was at #3 in the wickets (13 wickets).
Then followed two World Cups of relative disappointments.
Rock Bottom of 2009 & 2013
In 2009, India did not make it past the Super Six stage, but Raj made it into the Team of the tournament (247 runs, 2 – 50s, best of 75*). Goswami, who did not have a great time with the ball, was India’s captain during the tournament.
The 2013 Cricket World Cup, however, was arguably the lowest moment as India failed to get out of the qualifying stage. This time captaincy was back with Mithali Raj while Jhulan had a decent tournament with 9 wickets in just 4 games. Raj did score a 103* against Pakistan for the 7th Place Playoffs.
Post-2017, media coverage, funding, and women’s cricket grew in leaps and bounds. Mithali Raj herself reflects that she had more interviews after 2017 then in the first 18 years of her career.
India’s successful march to the finals was another great storyline of the tournament. By this time, a good core had formed around Raj & Goswami with Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, and Punam Raut all contributing with match -winning performances.
Raj followed up her consistent scores of 71, 45, 53, 69 with a 109-run knock against New Zealand. She ended up as the second highest run getter of the tournament with 409 runs (1 run behind Tammy Beaumont). Goswami had a decent run herself, taking 10 wickets overall with the best of 3/23 and providing India with miserly opening sells.
India has not had the rub of the green in the T20 World Cups in T20 World Cups either. After qualifying for the semi-finals in 2009 & 2010, they crashed out in the group stages in 2012.
They did not get far in 2014 & 2016 either except that Mithali Raj was the 3rd highest run getter with 208 runs in 2014.
In 2018, India had a bright run with 4 wins in 4 matches in the group stage before crashing out in the semi-finals again. Mithali had retired by the time 2020 T20 World Cup came around and Jhulan did not play in a T20 World Cup since 2016.
Jhulan Goswami was India’s captain briefly from 2008 to 2011, captaining India in 25 ODIs (W: 12, L: 13).
Mithali Raj, on the other hand, has had a couple of captaincy stints. First was around the 2005 ODI Women’s World Cup, the second stint during the 2013 World Cup, and the final one around the 2017 Women’s World Cup. In all, she captained India in 8 Tests (W:3, D: 4, L: 1) and 143 ODIs (W: 85, L: 55), the most by any Indian captain.
The Captaincy-Controversy Complex
These days India’s captaincy is synonymous with controversy. The same applies here as well.
Although Ramesh Powar is back as India’s head coach now and the relationship has reconciled, in 2018, a public battle of words between Raj & coach Ramesh Power took place. There was discussion on Raj’s strike rate and batting position during the 2018 T20 World Cup and she was eventually dropped from the 2018 semifinals, which India lost.
Eventually, Mithali Raj retired from the T20Is in 2019 and Harmanpreet Kaur replaced Mithali as captain.
Women’s IPL Without Goswami & Raj Already a Failure for BCCI
However, it has already failed before it began. In order to cultivate a strong fan base, Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami would have been wonderful ambassadors as players. I am sure they will still be invovled in some way or the other, but without creating a team around them, the BCCI has already lost a golden opportunity.
They have given everything for Indian cricket. They deserve one final farewell, preferably in front of their home crowd.
What Can We Learn from Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami?
Just like the 1997 World Cup moment inspired her, Jhulan herself has inspired numerous other cricketers like Pakistan’s Kainat Imtiaz (who was a ball picker when India toured Pakistan in 2005).
The legacies of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami are far beyond the numbers. They have not only changed cricket but have also changed the perception of fans towards women’s cricket.
When they debuted, Indian women’s cricket was not at a great place. BCCI had not taken over women’s cricket yet, lots of the early tours required self-sponsoring, practices were on turf wickets, and the facilities/physios were not as prominent back then.
The fact that India has reached so many semi-finals & finals and a trophy seems to be right around the corner is credit to their work over the years. Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami have not only contributed by their own skills but have also mentored and brought others along the way.
Longevity & consistency, coming back from disappointments, breaking barriers, mentoring others, staying focused on your goals, and always, always daring to dream—This is what Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami teach me.
I hope their magnificent careers and lives teaches you some valuable life lessons as well.
Quotes on Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami
Here is some advice in their own words.
“Young boys and young girls saying – We saw your match, we want to play cricket, where can we go, and enroll ourselves? So that’s a success for me, because getting the girls to watch cricket is a big thing.’
– Mithali Raj on Breakfast with Champions
“”Be committed and persistent in what [you] do. Channel your energy and be consistent”
– Mithali Raj advice to young girls in DRS With Ash
“But winning the World Cup was a dream. You chase that dream. You wake up every day and think about lifting that trophy…But that blot will remain unless you win the World Cup. Irrespective of me being in the team or not.”
-Jhulan Goswami on the World Cup dream
“I live with this dream. I live with this passion and want to do something for women’s cricket.”
-Jhulan Goswami on Women’s Cricket
“You have been a trendsetter…an inspiration…and a role model.”
– R Ashwin on Mithali Raj
Final Hurrah for the Iconic Duo?
Raj & Goswami are still fit and raring to go as we saw against Australia series this year. Goswami redeemed herself from a high pressure last over no-ball with a match winning shot in the very next game. They still have it in them.
On March 5th, 2022, India begins its journey to the 2022 Women’s ODI World Cup against Pakistan. Who knows, these might be the final 7 games that we might see of these legends.
We all hope that they can go two steps forward and achieve their World Cup dream. But even if they do not, it has been two delightful careers sandwiched in one that have mesmerized the fans for two decades.
Broad & Anderson were left out as Joe Root decided to bat first, under-fire Starc bowled Rory Burns first ball of the Ashes, debut captain Cummins got a 5-fer, England collapsed for 147, Australia replied with 425 via Mr. Fortunate David Warner (94) & fluent Labuschagne (74), comeback kid Stokes’ no-balls were not-called (until they were when he got a wicket), Robinson got 2 in 2, and Travis made sure that the match turned on its Head, he also got 15% fined for audible cussing, batter of the year Root (89) & Malan (82) dared to dream with a 172-run partnership before things crashed down the next morning in typical English collapse manner, Lyon ended his 400th wicket wait with 4/91, England were bundled for 297, Australia casually made 20/1, England were docked WTC points on overrate, Hobart got the 5th Test (as the second D/N match of the Ashes), oh and Gabba suffered an embarrassing power blackout.
Whew! That should all but cover it.
As most of us expected, Australia’s streak is back on the Gabba (after the Rishabh Pant thing that happened last year). Can England come back from this defeat? Do the 2 day-night matches bring England back into the running? Will Broad-Anderson impact the final result?
“I agree with a likely 2-1 Auz win. However I have a gut feeling that this could end in a draw maybe 2-2. Joe Root being England’s key man with the stick and Wood being important with the ball. Also Leach stepping up.”
“Already reassessed after Anderson news. Not happy! Depends so much on Brisbane. Get a draw and we could keep it to 2-1, lose then 4-0 is on. Runs/MVP – Root all the way. So far ahead of the rest. Woakes in the wickets. Broken Dream? Fear for Rory burns technique against bounce..”
– Jonny on the importance of first Test for England
Ashes 2021 Predictions Categories
England winning the Ashes undefeated was not part of anyone’s predictions, so this match does not hurt anybody’s predictions.
For the Australian summer, we asked our twitter followers to reply with #BCDPredictions in the following categories:
My Ashes 2021 Predictions
For comparison, here are my Ashes predictions:
#Scoreline: Australia 2-1
#MostRuns: Zak Crawley (England)/Steve Smith (Australia)
The first match of the Big Bash is already upon us. Glenn Maxwell’s Melbourne Stars suffered a horror loss by a mammoth 152 runs. If this game is anything to go by…we are going to be in for a long journey.
Here is everything you need to know about BBL 2021 quickly.
Before we begin with the BBL 2021 squads, here are the Ashes squad for the first two Tests as well as the Australia A squad that is due to face the England Lions between Tests. In case of conflicts, several players might miss some of their Big Bash matches.
We might also see some early overseas signings replaced due to COVID, Australian quarantine rules, and visa issues.
David Warner, 2. Marcus Harris, 3. Marnus Labuschagne, 4. Steven Smith 9VC), 5. Travis Head, 6. Cameron Green, 7. Alex Carey (WK), 8. Pat Cummins (C), 9. Josh Hazlewood, 10. Mitchell Starc, 11. Nathan Lyon
Matt Renshaw, 2. Josh Inglis (WK), 3. Nic Maddinson, 4. Mitchell Marsh, 5. Alex Carey (WK), 6. Ashton Agar, 7. Henry Hunt, 8. Bryce Street, 9. Sean Abbott, 10. Scott Boland, 11. Mark Steketee
*Teams highlighted in their respective jersey colors
Captain: Travis Head (C), Alex Carey (VC/WK)
Australia Internationals: Peter Siddle, Matt Renshaw, Fawad Ahmed, Daniel Worrall (3 ODIs), Wes Agar (2 ODIs)
Australia Domestic: Jake Weatherald, Harry Conway, Ryan Gibson, Spencer Johnson, Harry Nielsen (WK), Liam O’Connor, Liam Scott, Matthew Short, Jonathan Wells
Foreign Recruits: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Phil Salt, George Garton (England)
Coaching Staff: Jason Gillespie
I am looking forward to Peter Siddle and Rashid Khan. It is the time of the year where Siddle’s energy flows through and Rashid Khan’s presence is enough to send fears to the opposition camp.
Adelaide Strikers Expected XI:
Phil Salt, 2. Jake Weatherald, 3. Travis Head/Alex Carey (C), 4. Matt Renshaw, 5. Ryan Gibson, 6. Jonathan Wells, 7. Michael Neser, 8. George Garton, 9. Rashid Khan, 10. Fawad Ahmed, 11. Peter Siddle
Predicted Result: 7th
Captain: Jimmy Peirson (WK)
Australia Internationals: Marnus Labuschagne, Chris Lynn, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson, Sam Heazlett (1 ODI), Jack Wildermuth (1 T20I)
Australia Domestic: Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Max Bryant, Matthew Kuhnemann, Mark Steketee, Connor Sully, Matthew Willans, Liam Guthrie, Will Prestwisdge
Foreign Recruits: Tom Banton, Ben Duckett, Tom Abell (England), Tom Cooper (Netherlands), Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Coaching Staff: Wade Seccombe
I am looking forward to the foreign recruits. Ben Duckett was the find of The Hundred, and Mujeeb and Banton are match winners on their day.
Brisbane Heat Expected XI:
1. Chris Lynn, 2. Max Bryant/Labuschagne/Banton, 3. Ben Duckett, 4. Sam Heazlett, 5. Jack Wildurmuth, 6. Jimmy Pierson, 7. James Bazley/Michael Neser, 8. Xavier Bartlett, 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10. Matthew Kuhnemann, 11. Liam Guthrie/Mitchell Swepson
Predicted Result: 8th
Captain: Matthew Wade (C/WK)
Australia Internationals: Scott Boland, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Ben McDermott (WK), Riley Meredith, D’arcy Short
Australia Domestic: Jake Doan (WK), Caleb Jewell, David Moody, Mitchell Owen, Wil Parker, Aaron Summers, Charlier Wakim, Nick Winter, Macalister Wright, Jordan Thompson
Foreign Recruits: Tim David (Singapore), Johan Botha (now domestic Australian player), Colin Ingram (South Africa), Dawid Malan, Will Jacks, Harry Brook (England), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), Keemo Paul (West Indies)
Coaching Staff: Adam Griffith
I am looking forward to World Cup star Matthew Wade. Finally rising to the international stage, can he take Hobart to their first BBL? Also watch out for Tim David from Singapore, who is making his name in T20 leagues around the world.
Hobart Hurricanes Expected XI:
1. Matthew Wade, 2. D’Arcy Short, 3. Colin Ingram/Dawid Malan, 4. Peter Handscomb, 5. Ben McDermott, 6. Tim David, 7. James Faulkner, 8. Scott Boland, 9. Nathan Ellis, 10. Riley Meredith, 11. Sandeep Lamichhane
Predicted Result: 1st/Winners
Captain: Nic Maddinson
Australia Internationals: Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Harris, Cameron Boyce, James Pattinson (retired from international duty), Kane Richardson
Australia Domestic: Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Jonathan Merlo, Jack Prestwidge, Will Sutherland, Mitch Perry
I am looking forward to James Pattinson, Shaun Marsh, and Mohammad Nabi. These three are at the end of their careers, and I hope they still have a couple of good years in them. Also curious if Melbourne will play Unmukt Chand or if it is only to lure future Indian cricketers.
Melbourne Renegades Expected XI:
1. Aaron Finch, 2. Shaun Marsh, 3. Nic Maddinson, 4. Jake Fraser-McGurk, 5. Mackenzie Harvey, 6. Mohammad Nabi, 7. Kane Richardson, 8. James Pattinson, 9. Reece Topley, 10. Zahir Khan, 11. Cameron Boyce
Predicted Result: 3rd
Captain: Glenn Maxwell (C), Marcus Stoinis (VC)
Australia Internationals: Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Will Pucovski, Peter Nevill (WK)
Australia Domestic: Jackson Coleman, Seb Gotch (WK), Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Lance Morris, Tom O’Connell, Sam Rainbird, Beau Webster, Sam Elliot, Brody Couch
Foreign Recruits: Qais Ahmed (Afghanistan), Syed Faridoun (Pakistan), Joe Clarke (England)
Coaching Staff: David Hussey
I am looking forward to the Australian international regiment. Maxwell, Stoinis, Zampa won’t be missing much due to the Ashes and they are in red hot form. Hope they rebound from the first game.
Melbourne Stars Expected XI:
Marcus Stoinis, 2. Joe Clarke, 3. Joe Burns, 4. Nick Larkin, 5. Glenn Maxwell (C), 6. Hilton Cartwright, 7. Peter Neville (WK), 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9. Syed Faridoun/Qais Ahmed, 10. Billy Stanlake, 11. Adam Zampa
Predicted Result: 6th
Captain: Ashton Turner
Australia Internationals: Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft (WK), Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Cameron Green, Kurtis Patterson (2 Tests), Joel Paris (2 ODIs)
Australia Domestic: Josh Inglis (WK), Peter Hatzoglou, Matthew Kelly, Cooper Connolly, Aaron Hardie, Nick Hobson
Foreign Recruits: Colin Munro (New Zealand), Laurie Evans (England), Cameron Gannon (USA international/Australia domestic)
Coaching Staff: Adam Voges
I am looking forward to Josh Inglis. Alex Carey barely pipped him to the Ashes spot but he will be there for Australia A game. Can he warm up with some BBL runs? You can never count Perth Scorchers out.
Perth Scorchers Expected XI:
1. Josh Inglis (WK), 2. Cameron Bancroft, 3. Mitchell Marsh, 4. Colin Munro,, 6. Ashton Agar, 7. Cameron Green, 8. Jhye Richardson/Jason Behrendorff, 9. Andrew Tye, 10. Joel Paris, 11. Kurtis Patterson
Predicted Result: 2nd
Captain: Moises Henriques (C), Daniel Hughes (VC)
Australia Internationals: Dan Christian, Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Nathon Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Josh Philippe (WK)
Australia Domestic: Jordan Silk, Ben Dwarshuis, Hayden Kerr, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Benjamin Manenti, Lloyd Pope
Foreign Recruits: Carlos Brathwaite (injured), Chris Jordan (West Indies), Tom Curran, James Vince (England)
Coaching Staff: Greg Shipperd
I am looking forward to James Vince and Tom Curran. Vince has the Big Bash to thank for his England return last year and both Curran-Vince needs good BBLs to make it the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.
Sydney Sixers Expected XI:
Josh Philippe (WK), 2. James Vince, 3. Moises Henriques (C), 4. Dan Christian, 5. Tom Curran, 6. Jordan Silk, 7. Daniel Hughes, 8. Sean Abbott, 9. Hayden Kerr, 10. Chris Jordan, 11. Steve O’Keefe
Predicted Result: 5th
Captain: Usman Khawaja
Australia Internationals: Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Tremain (4 ODIs)
Australia Domestic: Chris Green, Jason Sangha, Baxter Holt (WK), Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes (WK), Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Tanveer Sangha, Sam Whiteman, Gurinder Sandhu, Jonathon Cook
Foreign Recruits: Alex Hales, Sam Billings (WK), Saqib Mahmood (England) (Adam Milne – NZ)
Coaching Staff: Trevor Bayliss
I am looking forward to The English foreign brigade. Alex Hales at the top, Sam Billings to finish it off and Saqib Mahmood with the pace. Also much to prove for captain Usman Khawaja since Travis Head was picked as Australia’s #5 for the Ashes.
Sydney Thunder Expected XI:
1. Usman Khawaja (C), 2. Alex Hales, 3. Sam Whiteman, 4. Matthew Gilkes, 5. Sam Billings (WK), 6. Alex Ross, 7. Daniel Sams, 8. Ben Cutting, 9. Chris Green, 10. Gurinder Sandhu, 11. Tanveer Sangha
Predicted Result: 4th
Big Bash League 2021 (BBL 2021) Predictions
Finally here are my predictions.
My prediction for the team to lift the BBL 2021 trophy is….Hobart Hurricanes!