Rohit Sharma, India’s flamboyant opening batsman and the vice captain of the limited overs team, was recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour for India.
The Khel Ratna Award is given to an athlete for his or her spectacular performance for the country at the highest level over a period of four years. The recommendation was made by a 12-member selection committee of the Sports Ministry on Tuesday.
The 33-year old Rohit , who has been a vital cog of the Indian team across all formats in the last few years, is only the fourth cricketer, after Sachin Tendulkar, just retired MS Dhoni and the current Indian skipper Virat Kohli, to have been picked for the distinction.
Tendulkar was the first Indian cricketer to get the Khel Ratna in 1998, followed by Dhoni in 2007 and Kohli in 2018, who won it jointly with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu.
Rohit’s Khel Ratna Award win comes on the back of an outstanding 2019 with the bat: 556 runs at an average of 92.66 in five Test matches, all while opening the batting for the first time, and 1490 ODI runs at 57.30, including the unprecedented feat of five centuries at a single World Cup.
The other athletes recommended for the honour are Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, table-tennis ace Manika Batra, Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal and Paralympic gold medalist Mariappan Thangavelu.
Athletes were also recommended for the prestigious Arjuna award this year by the same 12-member selection committee on Tuesday.
List of athletes recommended for Arjuna award:
Atanu das – Archery
Ishant Sharma – Cricket
Deepika Thakur – Hockey
Deepak Hooda – Kabaddi
Divij Sharan – Tennis
Mirabai – Weightlifting
Sakshi Malik – Wrestling
Chirag Verma – Badminton
Satwik Sairaj – Badminton