Indian batsman and limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma is among the four sportspersons to be conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award – the country’s highest sporting honour. The other athletes to win it are, Mariyappan T (Para-Athletics), Manika Batra (Table Tennis), Vinesh Phogat (Wrestling) and Rani (Hockey).
The National Sports Awards Committee had already shortlisted Rohit’s name, and it was only a formality that his name was announced on Friday. The Mumbai cricketer has been honoured for his exceptional performance in the blue jersey. His form, especially, in the 2019 World Cup was worth noting and his five centuries in the tournament had set the stage on fire.
Apart from Rohit, India cricketers Ishant Sharma and Deepti Sharma have won Arjuna Award, which recognises outstanding achievement in sports. Along with them, 25 other sportspersons have also been recognised for serving the country.
Rohit, Ishant and Deepti deserve the honour, thanks to their performances on the field last year. Rohit scored 556 runs in five Tests at an average of 92.66 in Tests while also amassed 1490 runs at 57.30 in the 50-over format.
Ishant was the second-highest wicket-taker for India in the longest format of the game last year. He picked 25 wickets in six Test matches at an average of 15.56 including a couple of five-wicket hauls.
Deepti Sharma, on the other hand, represented India in the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year at the MCG. She is currently placed fourth and fifth in the ICC Rankings for all-rounders in ODIs and T20Is respectively. Deepti was the second-highest wicket-taker for India in the shortest format picking 19 scalps in 14 matches and also added 15 wickets to her tally in 12 ODIs.
Meanwhile, Rohit has become the fourth cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to be honoured with Khel Ratna Award. Tendulkar was the first Indian cricketer to bag the Khel Ratna Award when he did so in 1998. Dhoni received the sporting honour after leading India to the T20 World Cup in 2007 while Virat Kohli won the award along with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in 2018.