The disappointment was palpable but the sense of pride also shone brightly as families of the Indian women’s World Cup squad members went through an emotional rollercoaster after the tense final loss to England. Mithali Raj and Co. fell just nine runs short of what could have been a groundbreaking maiden World Cup triumph.Hooked to the TV screens were their families across India and when the shoulders slumped at the Lord’s, quite a few hearts broke back here as well.
At the home of veteran pacer Jhulan Gowswami, who turned back the clock with brilliant figures of 10-3-23-3, there has been silence since the loss. “We have all been silenced and stunned. Dad and mom have stopped talking as of now,” Jhulan’s younger sister Jhumpa told PTI from her home town Chakdah in Nadia district about 70 kilometres from Kolkata.
“We have not called her yet. The whole of Chakdah had planned to celebrate. About 800 had gathered in our para (locality) in Lalpur, near the Ramakrishna Temple. The club had installed a giant screen,” she said. Jhumpa was nonetheless proud of her sister’s performance.”There was intense pressure. She did her job in the bowling (10-3-23-3). It’s not fair to expect from the tailenders, the batsmen should have taken them over the line.”
Jhumpa revealed that she and her mother Jharna broke down after the loss.”Her fine bowling performance went in vain,” Jharana said. “Nobody expected them to go so far. Everyone’s saying, it’s a remarkable performance. They may not have won but they have set the ball rolling for the revival of women’s cricket. Future is definitely bright and hopefully they will win next time,” Jhumpa added.
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The mood was similar at the house of Harmanpreet Kaur, the hard-hitting batter, whose 171 against Australia caught everyone’s attention.The plans for big celebrations at her home in Moga had to be cut short after the loss. The family was glued to their TV sets hoping that tailenders would help India cross the line but that did not happen.
Kaur’s sister Hemjit, in particular, looked overwhelmed even though her father Harmandar kept his composure to say that he was proud of his daughter’s achievement.”We are proud of our daughters, they have brought women’s cricket this far,” the 52-year-old father Harmandar Singh said.”Even runners up will give a boost to women’s cricket in the country,” he said. The cricketer’s mother said, “The team fought bravely, but it turned out to be a tough match today. We reached finals, even that is not any less achievement.”
Sister Hemjit said she has great hope that Indian eves will win the Cup. “We were hopeful that we will win, they have ended runners-up now. In women’s cricket, chasing even this much remains a tall order…this happens in cricket and there is nothing to be disappointed about,” Hemjit told reporters at her home. In Hyderabad, captain Mithali Raj’s coach RSR Murthy expressed satisfaction with how the team performed and hoped for bigger achievements from them.
“Overall, it was wonderful. Beating England, Australia to reach the finals was great. Everything went on all. Had they won (the Cup), it would have done miracles to the future of women’s cricket,” he told PTI. The performance of the team, covered extensively by the media, has made people more aware of women’s cricket, he said. Murthy was, however, disappointed over the team losing the final. “228 was attainable. They (Indian women) were in good position. Veda’s (Krishnamurthy) wicket was the turning point. We lost quick wickets. Of course, we bowled and fielded well,” he said. However, Mithali’s parents were not available to comment.