India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is expected to be the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s nomination for the prestigious Arjuna Award this year after losing to senior all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in 2019, PTI reported.

In the women’s team, all-rounder Deepti Sharma is a front-runner along with pacer Shikha Pandey, who is also a Squadron Leader with the Indian Air force.

The BCCI office-bearers are expected to zero in on nominations for the men’s and women’s categories later this month. Bumrah’s stupendous performances over the last few years makes him a worthy candidate.

If BCCI decides to send multiple names in the men’s category, senior opener Shikhar Dhawan could also be preferred as he missed out in 2018 despite the board sending his nomination. “Last year, we had sent three names in men’s section – Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI.

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Bumrah lost out as he had completed only two years in international cricket while the criteria of selection requires performance of at least three years at the highest level.

“That’s why Bumrah, who completed three years of international cricket last year, missed out to Jadeja, who is senior as well as a consistent performer for many years,” the official added.

The 26-year-old has 68 wickets from 14 Tests, 104 wickets from 64 ODIs and 59 wickets from 50 T20Is. “He certainly has the best credentials. He was ICC’s No 1 ranked ODI bowler. He is the only Asian bowler to pick up five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies,” the official said.

It is highly unlikely that BCCI will send Mohammed Shami’s name this time around as the police case filed against him by his estranged wife means that he won’t be eligible. In case of Dhawan, his seniority is a factor as all his contemporaries [Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Jadeja] have got the award.

Dhawan was, however, out of action for a considerable period last year after sustaining multiple injuries. But a former BCCI office-bearer said that Dhawan’s experience cannot be ignored.

“In 2018, we had sent Dhawan’s name for nomination but only [opener and T20I vice-captain]ss Smriti [Mandhana] got the award. So BCCI can send both Bumrah and Dhawan’s names,” he said.