August 29, 2003

Sehwag 'thrilled' at getting Arjuna Award

Wisden CricInfo staff

Virender Sehwag has expressed his delight at getting the Arjuna Award, India's prestigious government award for sportsmen. Sehwag was the only cricketer nominated this year by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but the nomination was filed after the deadline of May 31 set by the government. The committee that finalises the awardees exceeded the limit set upon them by the government, and there was speculation that a few names might be crossed off the list - Sehwag among them.

Sehwag wasn't worried about it. "Of course it is a great honour to be picked for this Award," he said, speaking to AFP. "But like a true sportsman I'd have taken it in my stride even if I was not selected.

"I did not lose sleep over it," he continued. "There was this suspense - will I or won't I? It is every player's wish to be rewarded for his efforts. And now that I have won the award I am really thrilled."

In a rehearsal of his acceptance speech, of sorts, Sehwag thanked his family, his coaches - Anil Sharma and Satish Sharma - and the BCCI. Sehwag had come to Delhi from Bangalore especially for the ceremony, and was due to return for an extended session with Andrew Leipus, the team's physiotherapist. Sehwag's injured back has kept him out of the forthcoming Challenger Trophy, but he will be a key player for India in the coming season.