India’s premier opening batsman and vice-captain, Rohit Sharma, has been recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – the highest accolade for a sportsperson in the country.
Along with Rohit, three other sportsperson were recommended for the honour, namely wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table-tennis sensation Manika Batra and Paralympian M Thangavelu.
The decision was made by the National Sports Awards selection committee, which met on Tuesday to recommend the sportsperson for Khel Ratna and other national awards. The other accolades include the Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and the Dronacharya Award.
Previously, ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar, recently retired legend MS Dhoni, and captain Virat Kohli were felicitated with the Khel Ratna. Rohit might be the fourth Indian cricketer to receive the prestigious accolade.
Sachin was presented with the honour due to his watershed season in 1998, whereas Kohli received the crown jewel in 2018.
Dhoni was awarded the Khel Ratna in the year 2007 after he successfully led the Indian side to victory in T20 World Cup in South Africa.
Rohit had a phenomenal 2019 with the bat in all formats of the game, especially in ODI cricket, where he stockpiled a whopping tally of 1490 runs.
His tally included seven centuries – most by any cricketer in a calendar year. Five of these tons came during the 2019 ODI World Cup in England – most by any batsman in a single edition of the tournament.
It would be only the second time as many as four athletes were recommended for the award. Earlier, in 2016, shuttler P V Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, shooter Jitu Rai, and wrestler Sakshi Malik had received this award.
This year, the ceremony will be held virtually on August 29 due to the ongoing pandemic situation. The National Sports Day in India is celebrated on 29th August, on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand.