(Left to right) Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Deepti Sharma
NEW DELHI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday nominated opener Rohit Sharma for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020, country’s highest sporting honour, while Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Deepti Sharma have been nominated for the Arjuna Awards.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had sought invitations for the respective awards with the period of consideration beginning January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2019.
“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,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly stated in a media release.
“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 added.
Team India’s ODI vice-captain Rohit, who was named the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019, has been a prolific run-getter. The stylish opener, who also has three ODI double tons to his name, became the first player in the history of the game to score five ODI centuries in one edition of the World Cup.
Rohit 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.
Left-handed batsman Dhawan, who missed out on the Arjuna award in 2018, holds the record for the fastest century on Test debut and is the only batsman in the world to have won two consecutive golden bats (for most runs) in the ICC Champions Trophy.
Dhawan 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.
Ishant Sharma, the youngest Indian to play all three formats of the game, has been leading the Indian pace bowling attack and holds the record for most wickets by an Indian pacer outside Asia.
In the women’s category, Deepti was BCCI’s pick for the Arjuna for her consistent show in both ODIs and T20Is in the past three years
Deepti, a top-class all-rounder, holds the record for the highest individual WODI score by an Indian player and is also the only Indian spinner to take 6 WODI wickets.
“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,” said honorary BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
“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,” Shah added.