Mohammed Shami emerged as the standout performer in the 2023 ODI World Cup, claiming 24 wickets and securing three five-wicket hauls, ultimately contributing significantly to India’s runner-up finish. Md. Shami Recieves Arjuna Award on Jan 9th, 2024.
On a memorable Tuesday, India’s top-performing athletes were honored with the national sports awards in a prestigious ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan, conducted by President Droupadi Murmu. Traditionally held on August 29 to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, the event was rescheduled due to the Asian Games in China, which occurred between September 23 and October 8, 2023.
The Arjuna Award list included 26 exceptional athletes and para-athletes. Notably, 19-year-old Esha Singh, who had secured her place in the Paris Olympics just the day before, missed the ceremony as she was participating in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jakarta.
Among the 25 awardees present at the Durbar Hall, the spotlight shone on Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami. Despite starting as a substitute in the initial four games of the tournament, Shami went on to become the leading wicket-taker with 24 scalps, including an impressive three five-wicket hauls—the highest in a single 50-over ICC event.
Present at the ceremony despite recovering from an ankle injury sustained during the World Cup, Shami received the prestigious Arjuna Award. The audience recognized his achievements with a well-deserved ovation. Shami’s acknowledgment in this manner marked him as the 58th Indian cricketer, regardless of gender, to receive the esteemed Arjuna Award—a list adorned with legendary names like Sunil Gavaskar, Virat Kohli, Mitali Raj and Jhulan Goswami.
Mohammed Shami’s journey to cricketing stardom began in the village of Sahaspur in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. Born into a family of five children, Shami’s father, Tauseef Ali, a former fast bowler, recognized his son’s potential early on. At the age of 15, Shami’s cricketing prowess caught the eye of coach Badruddin Siddique in Moradabad, leading to a pivotal decision to send him to Kolkata for better opportunities.
Reflecting on Shami’s early days, Siddique mentioned, “When I first saw him [Shami] bowling at the nets as a 15-year-old kid, I knew this boy is not ordinary.” Despite facing challenges and political hurdles during under-19 trials, Shami’s dedication and hard work remained unwavering.
Shami continued to refine his skills, focusing on the art of reverse swing with used balls after matches. Although he initially missed selection for the Uttar Pradesh under-19 side, Shami’s move to Kolkata proved instrumental. Joining clubs like Town Club and later Mohun Bagan Cricket Club, he used to bowl former Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly in the nets, he also recommended his name to Bengal selectors. Later he impressed selectors and eventually earned a spot in the Bengal squad for the 2010–11 Ranji Trophy.
Few months later he got a chance to play for the country. Rest is History. India got another finest Pace Bowler.