Kolkata, Jan 25 - Describing the Padma Shri award as a "big motivation" to scale greater heights for the country in the cricket, Indian women's team captain Jhulan Goswami Wednesday said the honour has filled her with pride.
"It's a great honour for me. I feel proud. It's a great feeling," the fast bowler who is the first Indian woman to claim ten wickets in a Test, told IANS over phone from Bangalore.
Goswami is now attending a camp at the National Cricket Academy for the upcoming tour to the West Indies where India play five twenty20 matches and three One-Day Internationals in Feb-March.
"I learnt about it around noon today and jumped in joy. This will motivate me to do well in the coming engagements. It will also motivate other women cricketers in my team to perform well," Goswami said.
Goswami, who idolises great Australian pacer Glen McGrath, can work up a pace which can go up to a maximum 120 km per hour, making her a leading fast bowler in world women's cricket.
The 28-year-old player has captured 135 scalps in 114 ODIs - and is ranked third in the all-time list of most wicket takers after Cathryn Fitzpatrick of Australia (180 from 109 games) and compatriot Neetu David (141 from 97 games). In eight Test matches, she has claimed 33 wickets.
It has been an enviable journey for the 5'11" girl from remote Chakdah in West Bengal's Nadia district. She made her international debut in a Test match opposite England at Lucknow in 2002 and four years later bowled India to its maiden series victory on England soil.
In the second Test of the tour at Taunton, she became the first Indian woman ever to take 10 wickets (five in each innings) earning rave reviews from the British media.
In 2007, Goswami was adjudged ICC women's cricketer of the world and received the highest civil honour for sportspersons - the Arjuna award - in 2010.
"But this honour is very special. It is after all the nation's fourth highest civilian award. And it has increased my responsibility," said Goswami, who is the second women's cricketer after India's first Test captain Diana Edulji to receive the Padma Shri.
The award will be presented at a ceremony in March-April by the president. (IANS)