The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated Rohit Sharma for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020 while Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Deepti Sharma have been nominated for Arjuna Awards.
IANS had earlier reported that Deepti was likely to be nominated for the Arjuna Award for her performance over the last two seasons.
The BCCI in the release said: “The Government of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had sought invitations for the respective awards with the period of consideration beginning 1st January 2016 to 31st 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.
“Shikhar 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.
“The youngest Indian to play all three formats of the game, Ishant Sharma has been leading the Indian pace bowling attack and holds the record for most wickets by an Indian pacer outside Asia. A top-class all-rounder, Deepti Sharma 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.”
Commenting on the picks, Sourav Ganguly, President, BCCI 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.
“Ishant Sharma is the most senior member of the Test squad and his contribution has been vital in the 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.”
Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI said: “There is no bigger honor 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.
“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.”
Arun Singh Dhumal, Honorary Treasurer, BCCI said: “Receiving a national award is a huge honor. It is a culmination of your on-field performances and your 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.”