India’s seasoned fast bowler, Mohammed Shami, is reportedly being considered for the prestigious Arjuna Award after an outstanding performance in the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made a special request to the Sports Ministry to include Shami’s name, which was initially absent from the list. At 33, Shami had a sensational year, culminating in his remarkable contributions to the World Cup where he finished as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in seven innings.

In November, Shami’s standout performance included a stunning 5/18 against Sri Lanka, making a significant impact on a high-pressure 358-run chase. His adept bowling in the Powerplay and through the middle and lower order showcased his skill and resilience. Another notable achievement was his focused 2/18 that contributed to the demolition of South Africa at Eden Gardens. Shami’s excellence was particularly evident in the semi-final against New Zealand.

Remarkably, Shami didn’t play in the team’s first four games, yet he emerged as a star bowler, claiming 24 wickets at an impressive average of 5.26 and 10.70. His statistics place him among the top wicket-takers in Cricket World Cup history, with only four players, including Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Starc, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Glenn McGrath, having taken more wickets. Notably, Shami achieved this feat in ten fewer matches than any of the players above him on the list.

Looking ahead, Shami is anticipated to return to on-field action for India in the upcoming two-match Test series against South Africa, with the first Test scheduled for a Boxing Day clash on December 26 in Centurion, followed by the second match on January 3 in Cape Town. The cricket community eagerly awaits the formal recognition of Shami’s exceptional contributions with the potential award of the Arjuna Award, highlighting his significant impact on the field.

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