Indian opener Rohit Sharma has been nominated for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the uppermost honour for a sportsperson in the nation. In consort with him, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu have also been suggested for the prestigious award.
The pronouncement came after the selection board met on Tuesday for deciding the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other national sports awards. The recommendations are subject to sanction by the Sports Minister.
Once approved by the minister, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards. If Rohit Sharma gets the award, he will become the fourth cricketer to do so. Before him, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli had received the Khel Ratna.
In May this year, the right-handed batsman was designated for the award by BCCI. He received the nomination after a spectacular 2019 with the bat. The right-handed batsman had his greatest year in terms of numbers across formats especially in ODIs. He ended the year as the highest run-scorer in the 50-over format, scoring a confounding 1,490 runs in ODIs together with seven hundred’s – the most by any player in the calendar year.
Speaking about the nominations, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, “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.”
Among other nominations, the BCCI nominated Shikhar Dhawan, Deepti Sharma and Ishant Sharma for Arjuna Awards.
Rohit Sharma, Team India’s vice-captain in the white-ball format has been a prolific run-getter. He was in impressive form during India’s run to the semi-finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where he finished top-scorer with 648 runs. Rohit Sharma had also scored a record five centuries in the tournament. Prior this year, he was named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year.
The opening batsman had a restoration in Test cricket too when he was promoted to the opening slot during the series against South Africa. He hit two hundred’s in his maiden outing as a Test opener before adding a double century to his name in the Ranchi Test. Overall, his 2019 across formats reads 2,442 runs at an average of 53 with 10 hundred.
Rohit Sharma will be seen performing next month when the IPL starts in UAE. IPL 2020 is scheduled to start on September 19. The Mumbai star has not played any competitive game since the T20I series in New Zealand at the start of this year. He was sidelined with a calf injury just before the ODI and Test series in New Zealand.