Zaheer Khan has been recommended for the Arjuna Award by the BCCI, the board’s chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty has said. If awarded, Zaheer will become the 44th Indian cricketer to be given the honour, which was instituted in 1961 by the Indian government to recognise outstanding achievement in national sport.
Zaheer has been India’s go-to man in recent years, playing a big role in the side’s overseas Test wins that have helped them climb to the top of the rankings. Since re-establishing himself in the Test side in 2007, he has been Man of the Series on three occasions, and has also mentored the younger fast bowlers in the side. In ODIs since the beginning of 2010, he has picked up 41 wickets from 24 games, averaging 25.07. Twenty-one of those wickets came in India’s victorious World Cup campaign, making him the tournament’s joint-leading wicket-taker alongside Shahid Afridi.
Several of his team-mates including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have previously received the award. The last cricketer to win the Arjuna Award was India women’s captain Jhulan Goswami in 2010.