The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Indian Women’s Test and ODI skipper Mithali Raj for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2021.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is the country’s highest sporting honour, and only four cricketers- Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma– have got the coveted award.

Ashwin finished as the leading wicket-taker during the recently concluded World Test Championship (WTC) cycle 2019-21 with 71 scalps.

Mithali, on the other hand, is the only women cricketer to have an international career of more than 22 years. Only Tendulkar had a longer career than Mithali, spanning 22 years and 91 days. She had won the Arjuna Award in 2003 and was conferred the Padma Shri in 2015.

Besides, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has recommended footballer Sunil Chhetri’s name for the Khel Ratna. Odisha government has proposed ace sprinter Dutee Chand for the same award, apart from delegating five other sportspersons.

The previous deadline for the National Sports Award was June 21, which was extended to June 28 earlier this month.

Another change was incorporated as the need for recommendations was waived off, taking into account the COVID-19 lockdown that imposed restrictions on travel.

In total, seventy-four recipients were bestowed with the awards last year, and the prize money for Khel Ratna was also increased to INR 25 lakhs.

KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan’s name would be put forward for the Arjuna Award as per a report by ANI.

Rahul has amassed 5072 runs in all three formats, whereas Bumrah has taken 250 wickets so far.

Dhawan, on the other hand, has piled 9965 runs in all three formats since his debut in 2012.

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