Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated Rohit Sharma for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020 while Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Deepti Sharma have been nominated for the Arjuna Award.
The Government of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had sought invitations for the respective awards with the period of consideration beginning 1st January 2016 to 31st December 2019.
Team India's vice-captain in the limited-overs cricket, Rohit Sharma has been in stellar form in the white-ball cricket. He was declared ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2019. In the world cup 2019 in England and Wales, Rohit Sharma was the highest run-getter in the tournament with 648 runs in 9 matches. He also became the first player ever to score 5 hundred in a single edition of the world cup.
Announcing the nominations, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, "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."
On the other hand, the nominees of the Arjuna Award, Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Deepti Sharma have been one of the consistent players for Team India. Shikhar Dhawan's recent form hasn't been up to his standard but he has been India's prolific run-scorer in the white-ball cricket over the years. He is the only player in the history of cricket to won two back to back Golden Bats in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, and 2017.
Ishant Sharma is currently the most experienced player in the Indian test team. He has also been very consistent with his performances with the ball in the last couple of years. He has played 97 tests so far and has taken 297 wickets while in 80 ODIs and 14 T20Is, the 31-year old has grabbed 115 and 8 wickets respectively.
One of the key players of the Indian women's team, Deepti Sharma has been a top-class all-rounder. The 22-year old young batter also holds the record of the highest individual score by an Indian player in the Women's ODI.
"Ishant Sharma is the most senior member of the Test squad and his contribution has been vital in the 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 said.
Talking about the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, it is the highest sporting honour of India. Thus far, only 3 cricketers have been given this award, Sachin Tendulkar (1997-98), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007), and Virat Kohli (2018).