India’s limited overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been nominated for the prestigious Khel Ratna, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Saturday (May 30), acknowledging the prolific batsman’s stupendous performance in the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Rohit’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has been once again nominated for the Arjuna award along with teams senior-most pace bowler Ishant Sharma.
Left-handed batsman Dhawan has missed out on the Arjuna award in 2018.
In the women’s category, all-rounder Deepti Sharma was BCCI’s pick for the Arjuna for her consistent show in both ODIs and T20Is in the past three years.
The Sports Ministry sought nominations for the respective awards from several sports associations considering the period between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019.
Rohit, who was named the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year in 2019, also became the first cricketer in history to register five ODI hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup. He is also the first batsman to score four T20I centuries and twin centuries in his maiden game as a Test opener.
Quoting BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, Hindustan Times reported that the board went through a lot of data and considered various parameters before shortlisting the names.
“We went through a lot of data and considered various parameters before shortlisting the nominees. Rohit Sharma has set new benchmarks as a batsman and achieved scores people thought were not possible in the shorter formats of the game. We feel he is worthy of getting the prestigious Khel Ratna award for his commitment, conduct, consistency and his leadership skills. Ishant Sharma is the most senior member of the Test squad and his contribution has been vital in Indian team’s long run as the No. 1 Test side. Fast bowlers are prone to injuries and Ishant has had a fair share of them but he has fought hard to be back on the park every time. Shikhar has been consistently scoring at the top and his performances in the ICC events have been significant. Deepti is a genuine all-rounder and her contribution to the team has been vital,” Ganguly said.
Praising Rohit for his performance and captaincy in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli, BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah said, ” In the last five years, Rohit Sharma has not only raised the bar with his individual performances but has also led the Indian team with distinction in Virat Kohli’s absence.There is no bigger honour than representing your country and being nominated for national awards is a recognition of your hard work.”
“Under his captaincy, India famously won the Asia Cup in UAE, the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka and registered many bilateral series wins at home. Rohit has been a perfect team-man and a mentor to youngsters. He deserves the highest sporting honour in the country. Ishant Sharma has been a warhorse while Shikhar Dhawan lifts the team’s morale with his fearless approach. Deepti Sharma has contributed a lot in Indian team’s consistent showing in the big-ticket events,” he added.
BCCI Honorary Treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said that receiving a national award is a huge honour and depicts the culmination of a player’s on-field performances and his/her character off the field.
“Indian cricketers have shown the competitive spirit on the ground and have come forward to help the country in this battle against the coronavirus. They have taken part in awareness campaigns, donated money and food grains to relief funds and charities and also connected with their fans through social media. The last Indian cricketer to win the Khel Ratna was Virat Kohli and I hope Rohit Sharma too, gets this top award as he thoroughly deserves it. Ishant Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have justified their talent and put in performances that their fans can be proud of. Deepti Sharma has contributed both with the bat and ball and deserves her nomination. I extend my best wishes to all the nominated cricketers,” he said.
Even as Dhawan has mostly taken the headlines due to his recurring injuries, he still is the only batsman in the world to have won two consecutive golden bats for most runs in the ICC Champions Trophy.
He also holds the record for the fastest Test century on debut and is the quickest Indian batsman to reach 2,000 and 3,000 runs in one-day internationals. He is the second fastest Indian to score 4,000 and 5,000 ODI runs.
Ishant, who has represented India in all three formats, holds the record for most wickets by an Indian pacer outside the continent.
As for Deepti Sharma, she is holds the record for the highest individual score in women’s ODI by an Indian all-rounder and is also the only Indian spinner to take 6 wickets in WODIs.
(With inputs from agencies)