One of the goals that you wish to achieve if you are aspiring for a career in sports in India is to be awarded with the Arjuna award. Given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Arjuna award is a recognition bestowed on the sportsperson for outstanding achievement and excellence. In the year 2018, when Smriti Mandhana, the new sensation of Indian Women’s Cricket team was nominated for the award, it surely was a proud moment for the player. However, she wont be alone woman cricketer to have received this prestigious award but has a long legacy to look up to. Let us have a look at these legends and remember their achievements especially in the field of cricket.
The 1954 born cricketer represented the Indian women’s team in Test match cricket. She played 16 tests in her career and was the captain of the side in 8 of those. Indian women team recorded their first ever win in test cricket under her captainship by defeating the West Indies at home. She also represented India in 19 WODIs and captained the side in 16 of those. She scored the first century by an Indian woman cricketer against the Kiwis. She was awarded the Arjuna award in the year 1976 and was the first woman recipient of the award.
A legend of the game, born in Mumbai, she represented India in 20 test matches and 34 WODIs. She is the highest wicket taker in Test matches for India and overall the 3rd highest wicket taker in Tests with 63 wickets. She holds the record for bowling most number of deliveries by a woman cricketer in Test match cricket. She has also led the Indian team in Tests and was awarded the Arjuna award in 1983.
A leg spinner, she was the part of the team which played the first ever women’s test series. She picked up 5 wickets on her debut and has overall four 5 wicket hauls in her career which spanned 19 Tests. She also represented the country in 27 WODIs and has been the captain of the team in 3 Tests and 1 WODI. On retiring, she began her career as a cricket administrator and also was the secretary of WCAI (Womens Cricket Association of India). She got the Arjuna award in 1985.
Indore born cricketer, she has been the captain of the Indian cricket team. A career which spanned over 11 years from 1984 to 1995, she represented India in 13 Tests and scored 1110 runs. It included 4 centuries and the runs came at a batting average of 50.45. She also played 21 WODIs and scored 567 runs. She was popularly known as “India’s Run Machine” and was awarded the Arjuna award in 1986.
One of the legends in Women’s cricket, she is the current captain of Indian Test and ODI side. She is the current highest scorer in WODIs and is considered as one of the greatest batswoman to have played the game. She is the only woman cricketer who has scored more than 6000 runs in WODIs. She also reached the milestone of becoming the first cricket to score 2000 runs or more in Women’s T20Is. Nicknamed as the “Tendulkar of Indian Women’s cricket”, she was awarded the Arjuna award for cricketing excellence in 2003.
A veteran of Indian cricket team, Anju Jain was a wicketkeeper batsman and has played 65 WODIs and 8 Tests. She was the captain of the team during the Women’s World Cup in 2000 and led the team to the semis of the competition. She achieved the feat of playing 4 consecutive World Cups. She also holds the record for playing most number of ODIs as a keeper and opening batsman and being the captain as well. She has scored 1729 runs in WODIs and was honoured with the Arjuna award in the year 2005.
Recognised as the face of Indian cricket, Anjum Chopra has represented the country in 116 WODIs and 12 Test matches. She made her debut against New Zealand in 1995 and was one of the highest scorers in the 2000 World Cup. She led the Indian team against England in 2002 and whitewashed the English despite having 7 debutants in the side. She was the top scorer for India in 2005 World Cup in South Africa. She has been a part of 6 World Cups overall and holds the record for highest number of slip catches. A cricketer who has been a source of inspiration and has given a lot to the game, she was awarded the Arjun award in 2007. She also holds the record of being the first woman cricketer to score a century in ODI and play 100 matches for India. She is also the first female cricketer to do commentary on men’s cricket matches.
Right arm medium bowler, one of the current legends to still play the game, Jhulan Goswami is the highest wicket taker in Women’s ODI cricket with more than 200 wickets. This legend has played 171 WODIs, 68 T20Is and 10 Test matches. She has 207 wickets in ODIs, 56 in T20s and 40 wickets in Tests. She was part of the team which played against England in 2017 World Cup finals but ended on the losing side. She was awarded the Arjuna award in 2010 and has a postage stamp to her name as well. She recently declared her retirement from T20Is and will focus on the ODIs and the upcoming World Cup.
A key member of the current Indian team and the captain of T20 team, she is an aggressive allrounder who has represented India in 90 WODIs and 84 T20s. She has scored 2220 runs at an average of nearly 35 and scored a brilliant 171* of just 115 balls against Australia in the 2017 Women’s World Cup and led the side to victory in the semis. She was named in the ICC Women T20I team of the year and was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2017 for her heroics.
One of the biggest talents in current international cricket circuit, Smriti has played for India in 44 WODIs and 43 T20Is. She scored a century in her very second game in ODIs and was part of the ICC Women’s Test team of the year 2016. She had a spectacular World Cup and scored a century against the West Indies. She scored the fastest fifty in Women’s T20 International for India against Australia and needed only 30 balls to achieve this feat. She also was the first player to score a century in Women’s Cricket Super League 2018. With only 22 years and a long bright career ahead of her, she has all the potential to become a legend of the game and break various esteemed records. The Arjuna Award will be coming at the right time in her career and will surely make her more responsible and motivated to play the game she has already excelled in at a very young age.