A rising superstar in the international cricket circuit, Deepti Sharma was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award at a virtual ceremony on Saturday.

The awards were presented by the honourable President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. The President awarded a record number of 74 awards, including the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Dronacharya Award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, and Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.

The ceremony, officially recognised as the National Sports and Adventure Award, 2020, was hosted on the 115th birth anniversary of multiple Olympic winning hockey captains and Indian sporting legend, Major Dhyan Chand. The 23-year old Deepti Sharma was over the moon with the enormous honor and has come a long way since her cricketing journey started at Eklavya Sports Complex in Agra. Deepti was quoted as saying, “I have worked hard from the very beginning and my family has also supported me throughout. I was waiting for this day and today I received it. It is a very proud moment for me.

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Speaking about what it means to win such an award and her future plans, the 23-year old said, “After this, the player’s responsibility increases to do even better for the country. It was a dream of mine to get my name added in the list of the recipient of this award.”

Sharma’s international career started against the mighty Australians just at the age of 17 and, in her brief stint in international cricket, has seen her play a vital part in India’s run to the finals of the 2017 50-overs World Cup and 2020 T20 WC. Deepti has been in peak form since the turn of 2019, claiming 15 wickets and 137 runs in 12 ODI’s and 30 wickets and 302 runs in just 24 T20I’s. In 2017, the 23-year old was part of a record-breaking partnership with Punam Raut, where they registered the first 300+ runs partnership in women’s ODI’s (320 runs).

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Deepti has played 54 ODI’s and 48 T20I’s in her career and has a solid return of 64 wickets and 1,417 runs. Among the other awards presented at the ceremony, Arjuna Award is bestowed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. In recent years, the prize money of Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award has been increased to 25 lacs and 15 lacs, respectively.

Picture Credit: Indian Express/ Deepti Sharma on Twitter

This article was published first in Female Cricket

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