New Delhi: Team India skipper Rahul Dravid, who lost the race for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to cueist Pankaj Advani last year, has been recommended again for country’s highest sports award.
The Cricket Board (BCCI) has also recommended middle order batsman Yuvraj Singh and former women’s team captain Anjum Chopra for Arjuna awards. Incidentally, Yuvraj too was recommended for the same award last year.
The Khel Ratna is given for the most spectacular and outstanding performance and it carries a cash award of Rs. five lakh.
Arjuna Award, given for good performance consistently for previous three years, carries a cash award of Rs three lakh.
Dravid (34) has been the Indian team’s backbone for years now, averaging 57.46 with 9366 runs including 24 centuries in the Test arena. He also aggregates 10,189 runs in ODIs.
Woman boxer Mary Kom and tennis Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi are the other athletes who have been recommended for the Khel Ratna this year.
Sachin Tendulkar is the only cricketer who has been bestowed the honour so far.
Dravid played a key role in India’s historic Test win against Australia in Adelaide in 2003-04 and also shared a marathon partnership with V.V.S. Laxman in the 2001 Kolkata Test against Australia.
Yuvraj, 25, has emerged as a vital cog in the Indian line up since making a memorable debut against World Champions Australia in 2000.
Anjum, a left-handed batter from Delhi, played in 12 Tests and scored 548 runs. She also featured in 105 ODIs scoring 2465 runs.