Team India's journey to the final of the Womens World T20 in March in Australia was on the back of some quality performances by the whole team. But a few players who stood out were Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey and Deepti Sharma. And Shikha and Deeptis names have been suggested by BCCIs Cricket Operations team for this years Arjuna Awards.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments said that Shikha and Deepti's performance in the World T20 as well as in the last year saw their names being forwarded to the office-bearers for recommendation for the prestigious awards.
"Yes, the office-bearers were given the names of Shikha and Deepti by the cricket operations team for not just their brilliant show in the World T20 in Australia where we finished as runners-up, but also for their consistent showing in the last season. These two names have been forwarded to the office-bearers and are likely to be forwarded to the ministry for the Arjuna Awards once they approve," the source said.
If Shafali showed the way with the bat in the showpiece event, scoring 163 runs in 5 games at a strike-rate of 158.25, Shikha picked seven wickets from five games with best figures of 3/14. Deepti played an all-round role in the tournament and was instrumental in India beating ultimate champions Australia in the opening game of the competition with her knock of unbeaten 49 in the lower half of the innings. She finished with 116 runs in the tournament.
Shikha interestingly is also a part of the Indian Air Force. "I've done engineering, and I'm an officer in the Indian Air Force. I joined the Air Force in 2012, and I took my training as well, and now I happen to be a flying officer, ATC officer. Then in 2014, I debuted for the Indian cricket team," Shikha had revealed during the World T20.
The Sports Ministry on May 5 invited nominations for the 2020 National Sports Awards including the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and the Arjuna Award. The ministry asked for nominations to be sent via e-mail in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
The process, which usually starts in April, has been delayed due to the pandemic. "Due to lockdown on account of the outbreak of COVID-19, hard copies of nominations are not required to be sent. Scanned copies of the nominations duly signed by the applicant/recommending authority may be sent at above mentioned email ids, before last date of submission," said the ministry in its circular.
The ministry gave a deadline of June 3 to file the nominations.