India skipperon Tuesday paid a glowing tribute to , saying the veteran pacer’s passion for the sport is unmatched and “nobody can fill her shoes”. The 39-year-old, who is the leading wicket-taker in international cricket in a career spanning more than two decades, is set to retire after the third and final ODI against England at Lord’s on September 24. “She goes to every game with the same kind of passion which is unmatched, nobody can beat that,” Harmanpreet said in a media interaction in Bengaluru on the eve of their departure for their white-ball series in England.
Having made her debut under the captaincy of Jhulan in a match against Pakistan in the 2009 World Cup, Harmanpreet has some vivid memories of the legendary Indian pacer who has a world record 252 wickets to her name from 201 ODIs — the only bowler with more than 200 wickets in the format.
“When I made my debut she was the captain, it’s a great opportunity for me that I would be leading the side when she would be playing her last ODI. When I entered the team, she was the one who was leading from the front. I’ve learnt a lot from her. Nobody can fill in her shoes.
“She’s someone who always puts in the same kind of effort, bowling two-three hours. She still puts in the same kind of hard work she used to during her early days… I’ve never seen her make any changes to her practice regimen.
“You hardly see any bowler doing like that, or even at the nets while batting… Nobody can bring that passion she has for cricket.
“As a cricketer and a person, I’ve learnt a lot from her. She’s a great example for all of us. There are many back home who have grown up watching her and then took up the sport.”
Jhulan last played for India during the ODI World Cup in New Zealand in March this year before sustaining a side strain ahead of India’s final group game against South Africa and missed the Sri Lanka tour in July.
Having made her International debut in 2002, Jhulan called it quits from T20s in 2018, and played her last Test match in October 2021.
Overall, Jhulan has played 12 Tests, 68 T20 Internationals and 201 ODIs including six World Cup appearances.
Fresh from their silver medal winning show at Commonwealth Games Birmingham, India will begin their tour with three T20s starting from September 9.
Thereafter India will play three ODIs at Hove (September 18), Canterbury (September 21) before the marquee ODI at the Lord’s, their first at the hallowed venue since their 2017 Cricket World Cup final defeat.
Harmanpreet said they would do their best to make it a special occasion for her.
“We are talking about it being her last tournament. It would be very special for her and for us. We would try to create some great moments for her so she can go back with some special memories.”
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