It turned out to be an evening of surprise for Sudha Shah. The former India women’s team member and an erstwhile national coach, could not even believe that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had actually named her for the prestigious C.K. Nayudu award for lifetime achievement for 2017-2018.

“I am stunned. I still haven’t digested the news. I am just hearing it from you. I hope you are not joking,” Shah told Sportstar , minutes after her name was announced for the award.

Pausing a little, she admitted that it was good to be recognised for her contribution to the game. “We all played for the love of the game and to be recognised now, it feels good,” the Chennai-based Shah said.

Having played 21 Tests and 13 ODIs for India in between 1976 and 1991, Shah has also coached India for a considerable amount of time.

While she was excited with the way India’s women cricketers are performing at the moment, Shah feels that women’s cricket is reaping the benefits of the hard work of yesteryear. “With the coming of BCCI, the girls have been exposed to better facilities and the grounds are really great. In our times, we had to make use of school grounds. The efforts of those days are paying results today. I don’t want to take away credit. The hard work (of those times) did make a big difference. The girls are making use of it now,” Shah said.

Despite being one of the stalwarts of women’s cricket in the country, an Arjuna Award had eluded Shah and she was happy to be honoured by the Board. “I am really grateful to the BCCI for this. I missed out on the Arjuna Award, and it’s good that I am finally being recognised,” she said, adding: “We played for the love of the game, but everyone wants to be recognised and appreciated.”