From Shantha Rangaswamy to Deepti Sharma: Arjuna Award winners
The Arjuna award is one of the highest honours in India given for outstanding achievements in the field of sports. Athletes from various sports have received this prestigious award over the years. India’s elite women cricketers also have been conferred with the Arjuna honour over the years, from pioneers of women’s cricket to the new age warriors who carried that momentum forward.
From Shantha Rangaswamy to Deepti Sharma, Women’s CricZone looks at the 12 recipients of the Arjuna Awards.
Shantha Rangaswamy (1976)
Shantha Rangaswamy, India’s first captain, was the first woman cricketer to receive the Arjuna award in 1976. Rangaswamy was one of the pioneers of women’s cricket in India. In 1976, she made a century, the first for India, in an unofficial Test against New Zealand. She led India to their first Test win when they defeated West Indies in Patna in 1976. During 1976-77 tour of New Zealand, she scored India’s first official Test century. She finished her career as the second-highest run-getter for India in Tests.
A batting allrounder, Rangaswamy scored 1037 runs-including one hundred and seven fifties and took 33 wickets from 35 matches.
Diana Edulji (1983)
Diana Edulji became the recipient of Arjuna award in 1983 at the age of 27. She is the leading wicket taker for India in Tests and only two bowlers have taken more wickets than her in the format. She made her debut in international cricket in 1976 and was part of India’s first Test win. She was the captain of the Indian side when they played their first World Cup in 1978.
Left-arm spinner and a right-handed batter, Edulji scored 615 runs with one fifty and took 109 wickets, including one five-wicket haul from 54 matches. She captained India in 22 matches across formats.
Shubhangi Kulkarni (1985)
In 1985, Shubhangi Kulkarni was conferred with the Arjuna award. She holds the record for most five-wicket hauls by an Indian in Test matches. She is the second-highest wicket taker for India in Tests. Her match haul of 7 for 57 against West Indies in 1976 was instrumental in India’s first Test win. Apart from her leg-spin, she was also a handy batter and is the third-highest run-getter for India in Tests.
Kulkarni played 46 matches for India and scored 1047 runs-including one hundred and two fifties and took 98 wickets with five five-wicket hauls. She also captained India in four matches.
Sandhya Agarwal (1986)
Sandhya Agarwal, highest run-getter for India in Tests, became the recipient of Arjuna award in 1986. She is the only Indian to score more than 1000 runs in Tests. In 1986, she broke the record for the highest individual score in Test cricket with her 190 against England in Worcester during the third Test after having scored a century in the second Test in Blackpool.
Fondly known as ‘Lady Gavaskar’, Agarwal scored 1677 runs-including four hundreds and eight fifties from 34 matches. Her four centuries is the most by an Indian in Tests.
Mithali Raj (2003)
Mithali Raj, India’s ODI captain, broke the record for the highest individual score in Tests in 2002 when she scored 214 runs in the first innings during the second Test against England in Taunton. It is still the highest score by an Indian in Tests. She was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna award in the year 2003 at the age of 20. She is the leading run-getter in the world in ODIs. She has captained India in a record 170 internationals across formats.
A batter known for her consistency and longevity, Raj has scored 9915 runs, including eight hundreds and 74 fifties from 308 international matches across formats. She led India to the finals of the 2005 and 2017 Women’s World Cups.
Anju Jain (2005)
Anju Jain, who made her debut for India in 1993, received the Arjuna award in 2005. She is the only wicket-keeper from India to score a century in Test matches. She holds the record for the most wicket-keeping dismissals for India in Tests and ODIs. She is the highest run-getter among Indian wicket-keepers in ODIs, andhe captained India during the 2000 World Cup where they reached the semi-finals.
A reliable wicketkeeper-batter who doubled up as an opener, Jain scored 2170 runs with one hundred and 15 fifties and accounted for 104 dismissals with 45 catches and 59 stumpings to her credit, from 73 internationals across formats.
Anjum Chopra (2007)
Anjum Chopra was honoured with Arjuna award in 2007. She was India’s leading run-scorer in the 2000 World Cup and led India to its first overseas Test win in 2002 during their tour of South Africa with a match-winning knock of 80 in the first innings. In 2003, she became the first Indian to score 1000 runs in ODIs. She was part of India’s World Cup side in 2005 when they reached the finals. In 2006, she became the first Indian to play in 100 ODIs.
An elegant batter, Chopra scored 3645 runs with one century and 22 fifties from 157 internationals. Although she never scored a Test hundred, Chopra’s gritty 98 against England in 2006 helped India register a historic series win.
Jhulan Goswami (2010)
Jhulan Goswami, the leading wicket taker in the world in ODIs, became the recipient of the prestigious Arjuna award in 2010. Her match haul of 10 for 78 in 2006 in Taunton helped India register their first win against England in Test matches. She is the only Indian with a ten-wicket haul in a Test match. In 2007, she became the first Indian to win the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.
The most successful bowler in the history of the game, Goswami is one of the nine players to achieve the rare double of scoring 1000 runs and taking 100 wickets in ODIs. In 260 internationals, Goswami has taken 321 wickets including six five-wicket hauls.
Harmanpreet Kaur (2017)
Harmanpreet Kaur, the first Indian to play in 100 T20Is, became the recipient of Arjuna award in 2017 after India’s successful World Cup campaign where they finished runners-up. She played a central role in the team’s run to the final, scoring an unbeaten 171 against Australia in Derby during the 2017 World Cup semi-final. It’s the highest individual score by a batter in the knockout stage of a global tournament. She scored a total of 359 runs from 8 innings at an average of 59.83 and a strike rate of 95.47 during the tournament.
India’s T20I captain, Kaur has scored 4584 runs, including four hundreds and 17 fifties and has taken 61 wickets from 215 matches across formats. She also led India to the final of the T20 World Cup 2020.
Smriti Mandhana (2018)
In 2018, Smriti Mandhana was conferred with the Arjuna award at the age of 22. In the same year, she became the first Indian batter, and only the second Indian to be named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2018. She also won the ODI Cricketer of the Year. She was part of the Indian side that reached the final of the 2017 ODI World Cup. She was the highest run-getter in ODIs in the year 2018 with 669 runs to her name from 12 matches. She is the fastest among Indians to score 2000 runs in ODIs.
Left-handed Mandhana has scored 3822 runs including four centuries and 30 fifties from 128 internationals. She is the youngest to captain India in T20Is.
Poonam Yadav (2019)
Poonam Yadav, the leading wicket taker for India in T20Is, was honoured with the Arjuna award in the year 2019. She was one of the key performers for India when they reached the finals of the 2017 World Cup. She took 11 wickets from 9 matches in the tournament at an average of 26 and an economy rate of 3.86. She took 48 wickets from 38 matches across formats during the 2017-2018 period. She was also the joint-highest wicket taker for India in the T20 World Cup 2018.
A leg-spinner known for her deception, Yadav has played 114 international matches for India and has taken 170 wickets, including seven four-wicket hauls. She was part of the Indian side that reached T20 World Cup final in 2020.
Deepti Sharma (2020)
Deepti Sharma is the latest entrant to the Arjuna awardees’ list. She picked up 34 wickets with her off-spin and scored 281 runs from 26 matches in 2019. During the T20 series against South Africa in September 2019, she became the first Indian to bowl three maidens in a T20I innings during her spell of 3 for 8. She was the leading wicket taker for India during the 2017 Women’s World Cup with 12 wickets to her name from nine matches. She holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian in ODIs and also has the best figures by a spinner for India in the format.
One of the leading allrounders in the world, Sharma has scored 1840 runs-including one hundred and 10 fifties and has taken 117 wickets from 102 matches across formats. She was part of the Indian side that finished as the runners-up in the T20 World Cup 2020 and was the second leading run-scorer for the side in the tournament.
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