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The BCCI has named Virender Sehwag as the recipient of the Polly Umrigar Award, its top annual honour, for outstanding performances in international matches in 2007-08. Others up for honours at the BCCI awards ceremony for 2007-08, to be held on February 18, include Cheteshwar Pujara and Sudeep Tyagi, who win prizes for the best batsman and bowler in domestic cricket. Former India captain Gundappa Viswanath has been chosen for the CK Nayudu lifetime achievement award.
Sehwag had made a successful return to the Indian Test team on the 2007-08 tour of Australia after being overlooked for away series in Bangladesh and England, and the home contest against Pakistan. Since then, he has been in prolific form, scoring 1462 in 14 Tests in 2008 at an average of 56.23 and strike-rate of 85.84, including a blistering triple-century in Chennai against South Africa. He was also part of India's victorious team at the World Twenty20 in South Africa in September 2007. Sehwag will receive Rs 5 lakh for the prize.
Pujara and Tyagi will get Rs 1 lakh each win and the Madhavrao Scindia Award. Pujara, who plays for Saurashtra, finished the 2007-08 season as the leading run-getter in the Ranji Trophy Super League, with 807 runs at 73.36. Uttar Pradesh medium-pacer Tyagi took 41 wickets at 21.63 apiece.
Maharashtra's Ankit Bawane, Punjab's Mandeep Singh, UP's Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Delhi's Rahul Dewan have been awarded the MA Chidambaram Trophy for the best Under-15, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-22 cricketer respectively. Former India captain Mithali Raj and legspinner Thirush Kamini were named the best woman cricketers.
The BCCI will also hand special awards to the Maharashtra Cricket Association (best overall performance in the season), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (for winning the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest government honour for sportsmen, and the Padma Shri), and Harbhajan Singh (300 Test wickets and receiving the Padma Shri).