Dubai: Rohit Sharma, whose superhuman efforts in white ball cricket last year won him the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019, has been nominated by the Indian cricket board for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020 - the highest honours for an active sportsperson in India.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also nominated Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Deepti Sharma, Indian women’s allrounder, for Arjuna Awards.
‘‘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,’’ Sourav Ganguly, former India captain and the BCCI president, said in a statement.
‘‘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.
The Government of India’s 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 last year.
Named the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019, Rohit Sharma 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.
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.
A world 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 six WODI wickets.