OST Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 21: In recognition of his scintillating performance in the current Ranji series, eminent cricketer Nataraj Behera has been selected for the ‘Cricketer of the Year’ award for 2013-14, the oldest sports award of the state.
A nine-member committee comprising senior sports journalist Sanatan Pani, Sushant Mohanty, Sambit Mohapatra, Suresh Swain, Sanjib Biswal, Umakant Mishra, Niranjan Reddy, managing director of Maruti Estate Pvt Ltd Jitendra Prasad Singh and secretary of Saheed Sporting Club Pankaj Patnaik selected Behera for the award.
The award, instituted by the city-based Saheed Sporting Club in 1992-93 and sponsored by Maruti Estate India Pvt Ltd, carries a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and a special trophy.
Behera had scored 584 runs in 10 innings of six matches during the 2013-14 Ranji season which included four consecutive centuries with the highest 158 against Delhi.
His two centuries in both the innings against Mumbai was highly praised by the cricket experts.
Behera would be the 22nd recipient of the award.
The previous awardees are, Ranjib Biswal (1992-93), P Jayachandra (1993-94), Rashmi Ranjan Parida (1994-95), Prasant Mohapatra (1995-96), Debasis Mohanty (1996-97), Debasis Mohanty (1997-98), Pravanjan Mallick (1998-99), Siba Sundar Das (1999-2000), Sanjay Satpathy (2000-01), Debasis Mohanty (2001-02), Pravanjan Mallick (2002-03), BBCC Mohapatra (2003-04), Dipak Mangaraj (2004-05), Debasis Mohanty (2005-06), Pravanjan Mallick (2006-07), Debasis Mohanty (2007-08), Basant Mohanty (2008-09), Dheeraj Singh (2009-10), Basant Mohanty (2010-11), Biplab Samantray (2011-12) and Basant Mohanty (2012-13).