India athletes officially received the National Sports awards — Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna award — from the president via a video conference on Saturday. Senior India fast bowler Ishant Sharma was one of the two cricketers to receive the Arjuna Award with women’s team all-rounder Deepti Sharma being the other.
Ishant Sharma shared his thoughts on receiving the prestigious honour and said that he realised his passion for the game at a young age and since then has strived to get the best to the national team. He also said that he will continue playing for the national team until his body permits.
“I realised my passion for cricket at a very young age and since then I have been striving to give my 100 per cent effort day in and day out. Every step I took to improve my game was aimed at taking India’s name to a higher level. Till the time my body allows, I will continue to do so, and by God’s grace after that as well,” the Indian pacer said in a statement put out on his official Twitter handle.
“I sincerely thank the ministry (sports) for this recognition.
“Lastly, a huge shootout to BCCI for giving monumental support in this journey and the journey going forward. Not to forget, congratulations to all the fellow Arjuna Awardees,” he added.
Ishant has grown through the ranks to become a senior fast bowler for India. He has not been a regular in limited-overs but Ishant has led the charge for India in the Tests.
His last Test appearance for India came in their tour to New Zealand where the visitors faced a drubbing but Ishant picked up a five-wicket haul in testing conditions. He was also a part of the national team which clinched the first-ever Test series victory Down Under.