India batting superstar Rohit Sharma has been recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest award for sportsperson in the country. Along with him, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu have also been recommended for the prestigious award.
The decision comes after the selection panel met on Tuesday for deciding the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other national sports awards. The recommendations are subject to approval by the Sports Minister. Once ratified by the minister, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards. If Rohit Sharma gets the award, he will become the fourth cricketer to do so. Before him, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli had received the Khel Ratna.
In May this year, the right-handed batsman was nominated for the award by BCCI. He earned the nomination after a stunning 2019 with the bat. The right-handed batsman had his best year in terms of statistics across formats especially in ODIs. He finished the year as the highest run-scorer in the 50-over format, scoring a staggering 1,490 runs in ODIs including seven hundreds – the most by any player in the calendar year.
He was in phenomenal form during India’s run to the semifinals of the 2019 ODI World Cup, where he finished top-scorer with 648 runs. Rohit Sharma had also scored a record five centuries in the competition. Earlier this year, he was named ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year.
The Mumbai batsman had a revival in Test cricket too when he was promoted to the opening slot during the series against South Africa. He struck two hundreds in his maiden outing as a Test opener before adding a double century to his name in the Ranchi Test. Overall, his 2019 across formats reads 2,442 runs at an average of 53 with 10 hundreds.
Rohit Sharma to return to action:
Rohit Sharma will be seen in action next month when the IPL takes place in UAE. IPL 2020 is scheduled to start on September 19. The Mumbai star has not played any competitive game since the T20I series in New Zealand at the start of this year. He was sidelined with a calf injury just before the ODI and Test series in New Zealand.