Post her heroic knock of 171 not out against Australia in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup semi-final and a half-century in the final, Harmanpreet Kaur Bhullar has been busy attending award functions. The 28-year-old cricketer received the prestigious Arjuna Award on National Sports Day on August 29 in New Delhi and the cricketer, who was in Chandigarh for the felicitation function by the Late Dronacharya D P Azad Foundation, shared her joy on getting the Arjuna.
“Of course, such awards boost the morale of a player. To get nominated and then being given the Arjuna Award is a big thing for me and I am happy to be chosen for the award. My name was nominated before the World Cup but the nomination was the result of all the years of hard work. It feels good to join cricketers like Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and other women cricketers, who have got the Arjuna Award earlier. I am also sure that this award will motivate other girls to come and play cricket and achieve their dreams,” said Bhullar on the sidelines of the award function at the Chandigarh Golf Association Range.
A finger injury suffered during the early phase of the World Cup and a shoulder injury in the semi-final have put the cricketer out of action for more than a month. Bhullar, who was supposed to play for Surrey Stars in the inaugural England Super League T-20 last month, had to give it a miss. The cricketer is expecting to be fully fit ahead of the women’s Big Bash League in Australia where she will represent Sydney Thunders for the second year.
Last year, Bhullar became the first Indian player to be signed for the BBL and scored 296 runs at an average of 59.20 in 12 matches. “It was unfortunate to miss the England Super League but my doctors had advised me rest. There are still two months for the Women’s BBL and I will be fully fit before the league. I plan to train under coach Harshal Pathak in Pune to regain full fitness as playing in Australia is always a challenge. There are not many matches for the Indian team this season but we have to start preparations for next year’s T-20 World Cup in West Indies. Having reached the finals of the 50-over World Cup, there will be expectations from us and we are eager to play at the international level,” said Harmanpreet.
The cricketer was handed a cheque of Rs 21,000 by CSR Reddy, DGP, Punjab, and president of Chandigarh Golf Association, in the presence of DP Azad’s sons Sanjiv DP Azad and Munish DP Azad. “I always heard about DP Azad Sir but could not meet him. He was the coach of international cricketers like Kapil sir and others and to see his trophies and spend time with his family was special for me,” said Bhullar.