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BCCI’s first contender for Arjuna Award Bumrah

India’s fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is expected to be nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Award this year by the Cricket Board of India (BCCI) who had fallen behind Ravindra Jadeja in 2019 on seniority grounds.

BCCI officials are expected to make nominations for the men’s and women’s sections later this month, but the Gujarat fast bowler is the most capable candidate due to his outstanding performance in the last four years.

If the BCCI sends a number of names in the men’s category, then senior opener Shikhar Dhawan may also be preferred as he missed it in 2018 while the board sent his nomination.

BCCI source told PTI, “Last year, we sent three names – Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami – to the men’s section. Bumrah had completed only two years in international cricket, as per the selection criteria, the player had performed at the top level for at least three years, so he could not achieve it.

“So not Bumrah (who completed three years in international cricket last year) but Jadeja, who is senior to him and has been performing continuously for many years,” the source said.

The twenty-six-year-old has taken 68 wickets in 14 Tests, 104 wickets in 64 ODIs, and 59 wickets in 50 T20 Internationals, giving him a terrific performance in the Indian team.

“He is definitely a great candidate,” the source said. He was the number one ranked bowler of the ICC. He is the only Asian bowler to have taken five wickets in South Africa, England, Australia, and West Indies.

“It is unlikely that the BCCI will send the name of Mohammed Shami this time as his wife has filed a police case against him in the alleged domestic violence, which means he will not be eligible.”

As far as Dhawan is concerned, being senior is one of the reasons that all his counterparts (Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Jadeja) have received this award. Dhawan, however, stayed away from cricket for a long time last year due to injuries. But the former BCCI official said that Dhawan’s seniority cannot be ignored.

He said, “In 2018 we sent Dhawan’s name but only Smriti (Mandhana) got the award. Therefore, BCCI can send the names of both Bumrah and Dhawan. All-rounder Deepti Sharma in the women’s section can be nominated along with fast bowler Shikha Pandey for her consistent performance over the last four years.”

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