India's limited overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been nominated for the prestigious 'Khel Ratna', the BCCI announced on Saturday, acknowledging the prolific batsman's stupendous performance in the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Rohit's opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has been once again nominated for the Arjuna award along with team's senior-most pace bowler Ishant Sharma.
Left-handed batsman Dhawan has missed out on the Arjuna award in 2018.
In the women's category, all-rounder Deepti Sharma was BCCI's pick for the Arjuna for her consistent show in both ODIs and T20Is in the past three years.
"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," BCCI chief, Sourav Ganguly said.
"Ishant Sharma is the most senior member of the Test squad and his contribution has been vital in 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," he added.
"There is no bigger honour than representing your country and being nominated for national awards is a recognition of your hard work. In the last five years, Rohit Sharma has not only raised the bar with his individual performances but has also led the Indian team with distinction in Virat Kohli's absence. Under his captaincy, India famously won the Asia Cup in UAE, the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka and registered many bilateral series wins at home. Rohit has been a perfect team-man and a mentor to youngsters. He deserves the highest sporting honour in the country," secretary Jay Shah said.
Arun Singh Dhumal, treasurer of the BCCI, said: "Receiving a national award is a huge honour. It is a culmination of your on-field performances and your character off the field. Indian cricketers have shown the competitive spirit on the ground and have come forward to help the country in this battle against the coronavirus. They have taken part in awareness campaigns, donated money and food grains to relief funds and charities and also connected with their fans through social media."
(With inputs from PTI)