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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

'I don't play cricket for awards'

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday recommended Indian women's team skipper Jhulan Goswami and prolific southpaw Gautam Gambhir for the prestigious Arjuna award.

The announcement came as a pleasant surprise for the world's fastest bowler among women. But she was hasty to add that regardless of whether she gets the award, her contribution to the game would not diminish.

"I didn't get into cricket for awards. My priority has always been to play and excel for my country," an excited Jhulan said.

The announcement came a day after she was handed the responsibility to lead India at the inaugural Women's Twenty20 World Cup in England in June.

With three changes in the side which went to Australia for the World Cup in February, Goswami was optimistic about it.

"The changes have been effected on the basis of the two warm-up matches we played after the announcement of 30 probables," she said. Right-hand bat Babita Mandlik, off-spinning all-rounder Diana David and Latika Kumari, a debutant, were the new faces.

The players who got the axe were middle order batswoman Thirush Kamini, medium fast bowler Snehal Pradhan and left-arm orthodox Sravanthi Naidu. The skipper said that this was not the end of the road for them. "They are young and have age by their side. The doors will open if they perform better," said the skipper.

The skipper explained the need of more utility players for the T20 format. "We looked at bowlers who can bat a bit and batswomen who can roll their arm over," said Goswami, who explained the inclusion of Diana David.

The squad
Jhulan Goswami (captain), Amita Sharma -- (vice-captain), Mithali Raj, Anjum Chopra, Rumeli Dhar, Sulakshana Naik (wk), Anagha Deshpande (wk), Priyanka Roy, Reema Malhotra, Gouher Sultana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Poonam Raut, Babita Mandlik, Latika Kumari, Diana David.

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