Rohit Sharma reacts to Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna nomination

The opener thanked his fans, coaches and support staff in a video posted by the BCCI.

Photo: ICC/Twitter

Indian cricket team vice-captain and Mumbai cricketing superstar Rohit Sharma was nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the nation’s highest sporting honour, by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday.

The 33-year-old, who was picked as an Icon Player in Season 1 of T20 Mumbai, shared a heartfelt message following the nomination in a video posted by the BCCI.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to be nominated by Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by the BCCI,” said Sharma. “I am grateful to the BCCI, my teammates, support staff, fans of the game and my family for sticking by me.”

It came as little surprise that Rohit Sharma was BCCI’s nomination for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award after the opener’s terrific year in 2019.

The 33-year-old scored, a mammoth, 2442 runs in 47 innings in 2019, which included 10 centuries at a whopping average 53.08 and a stellar strike rate, as is typical of the flamboyant opener, of 91.28. Only teammate and Indian Cricket Team captain Virat Kohli outscored Sharma with 2455 runs in 46 innings.

Rohit Sharma’s tally the most by an opener in International Cricket in a calendar year, surpassing Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya’s previous mark of 2387 that he set in 1997.

His performance at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England was one for the ages. Sharma scored 648 runs at a whopping average of 81 and a brilliant strike rate of 98.33, finishing the tournament as the leading runscorer. Sharma also made his debut as a test opener in 2019 against South Africa.

The 33-year-old scored 529 runs in four innings, which included two tons and a double century. Sharma also led Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians to, a record, fourth title and became the first player to win the IPL five times.

Rohit Sharma could become only the fourth cricketer in history to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award after T20 Mumbai League Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar (1998), 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007) and current Indian Cricket Team captain Virat Kohli (2018).

Other sporting icons that have been nominated so far for the 2020 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award include boxers Amit Panghal and Vikas Krishnan, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal.

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