The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced this week that it had nominated Virat Kohli And Ajinkya Rahane for the Khel Ratna And Arjuna Awards due to their outstanding performance in Indian cricket.
Kohli was nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award which is considered to be the highest sporting honour in the country. Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar received the award in 1997-98 and MS Dhoni received the award in 2007 after winning the T20 World Cup. Kohli who is the test captain has done a fabulous job leading the side but has also performed magnificently well in all formats during the last 12 months and has established himself as one of the top three batsmen in the world.
The BCCI had not nominated anyone for the Khel Ratna award during the last four years but decided that Rahane performances have been good enough for a nomination. The last time that board nominated Rahul Dravid for the Khel Ratna award in 2012 but he did not win the award. Rahane has established himself in India’s test line-up and has done fabulously well on overseas tours.
In a statement, BCCI honorary secretary Anurag Thakur said “Looking at the performances of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, the BCCI has nominated their names for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award. I am sure both players have done extremely well in the past and they are going to do well in future as well.”
Kohli will compete with a number of other prominent sportsmen and women in the country including athlete Tintu Luka, squash player Deepika Pallikal, golfer Anirban Lahiri, and shooter Jitu Rai who is a gold medallist at the Incheon Asian Games. Kohli has a good chance of winning the award as he was adjudged ‘Man of the Tournament’ during the recently conducted 2016 T20 World Cup.
The Indian batting flopped as a whole but Kohli single-handedly took the fight to the opposition and helped India reach the semi-finals. Rahane has found it difficult to secure a permanent spot in the ODI and T20 squads but has made the most of his opportunities.
The Arjuna Award winner will receive a citation and a cash prize of 5 lakh rupees while the Khel Ratna award will receive a citation and a cash prize of 7.5 lakhs.