‘The first time I met Jhulan Di I didn’t even reach up to her knee’: Saika Ishaque

Mumbai Indians spinner Saika Ishaque recalled her first meet with her team’s bowling coach Jhulan Goswami when she was a budding cricketer and said in jest that she did not even reach her knee.

In a video shared on the MI Twitter handle, Ishaque said, “The first time I met Jhulan Di, I didn’t even reach up to her knee. I have known her since I was that young. Jhulan Di’s support means the world to me.”

Recalling her chat with Goswami, the left-arm spinner said, “I have been playing cricket since I was a kid with the boys. What we call ‘Gullyy Cricket’… Back then, I didn’t imagine girls playing cricket (formally). My father’s friend noticed that I play well… He made me join the club. There I met Jhulan Di (Juhlan Goswami). I was mesmerized the first time I saw her, and Jhulan Di even gifted me the first-ever cricket kit.”

The 27-year-old praised her skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and said, “Harry di always supported me. Even when I get nervous or freak out, she’ll say shake off your worries and bowl. You are a good bowler.”

Ishaque has played a crucial role in MI’s qualification in the playoffs in the inaugural season of the Women’s Premiere League (WPL). She picked up 13 wickets from eight games, one wicket less than the purple cap holder UP Warriorz Sophie Ecclestone.

Ishaque also spoke about how she picked up Harmanpreet Kaur and Taniya Bhatia in consecutive balls in a domestic game which helped her to get into the Women’s T20 challenge.

“Bengal was playing against Punjab. Bengal was on the verge of defeat. I was given the ball and back two back two balls 2 wickets. Harry Di was out, Taniya was out, And Bengal won the match. That’s how I got selected for the Women’s T20 Challenge.”

Speaking about representing Mumbai Indians, she said, “This is huge. Never in my wildest dreams have I imagined this. Pooja Vastrakar and Yashika Bhatia were there with me. I think I told Pooja to pinch me. Is this for real, or am I dreaming?”

“I have just started. I have to keep this going for a long time. This is my job. This is what I am here to do. I am a bowler, here to scalp wickets,” she concluded.

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