Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated India vice-captain Rohit Sharma for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020. Meanwhile, the board has also nominated Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Deepti Sharma for the Arjuna Award.
The Government of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had sought invitations for the respective awards with the period of consideration beginning 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2019.
Rohit Sharma, Team India’s vice-captain in the white-ball format has been a prolific run-getter. Named the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019, the stylish opener became the first player in the history of the game to score five ODI centuries in one edition of the World Cup. He is also the first batsman to score four T20I centuries and is the first player to have twin centuries in his maiden appearance as a Test opener.
The period of consideration is between 1 January, 2016 to 31 December, 2019. In this while, Rohit has had a stellar run, becoming the first T20I cricketer to score four centuries and hold the record for the most 150-plus scores in ODIs – 8. Besides, since the beginning of 2017, Rohit has the most number of ODI centuries – 18. With 28 hundreds, Rohit is ranked fourth in the all-time leading ODI centurions.
Named the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019, Rohit became the first player in history to score five ODI centuries in a single edition of the World Cup. He surpassed MS Dhoni to hit the maximum number of sixes in international matches on Indian soil. Later in the year, being assigned the responsibility of opening the batting in Tests, Rohit became the only player to have twin centuries in his maiden appearance as a Test opener.
“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,” BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said in a statement.
Dhawan holds the record for the fastest Test century on debut and is the only batsman in the world to have won two consecutive golden bats (for most runs) in the ICC Champions Trophy. He is also the quickest Indian batsman to reach 2000 and 3000 runs in ODIs and second-fastest Indian to score 4000 and 5000 runs in ODIs.
“Shikhar has been consistently scoring at the top and his performances in the ICC events have been significant,” Ganguly said.
The youngest Indian to play all three formats of the game, Ishant has been leading the Indian pace bowling attack and holds the record for most wickets by an Indian pacer outside Asia. “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,” Ganguly said of Sharma.
A top-class allrounder, Deepti holds the record for the highest individual WODI score by an Indian player and is also the only Indian spinner to take six WODI wickets. “Deepti is a genuine all-rounder and her contribution to the team has been vital,” said the BCCI president.
Jay Shah, the Honorary Secretary of the BCCI didn’t hold back for his praises for the four cricketers.
“There is no bigger honour than representing your country and being nominated for national awards is a recognition of your hard work. 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. 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,” he said.
“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.”Virat Kohli was the last Indian cricketer to win the Khel Ratna award in 2018 and Arun Dhumal, the BCCI treasurer, hopes Rohit follows his India captain for the honour.