The Indian Cricket Board has recommended Test captain Virat Kohli for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country’s highest sporting honour, and Ajinkya Rahane for the Arjuna award this year.
If Kohli wins, he would become only the third cricketer after the iconic Sachin Tendulkar and the country’s most successful captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to win India’s highest sporting honour.
BCCI sources confirmed the development.
It is after a gap of four years that a cricketer has been recommended for the Khel Ratna.
The prestigious Khel Ratna award carries a cash price of Rs. 7.5 lakh in addition to a citation, while the Arjuna awardee receives a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh and a citation.
Kohli is enjoying a fine run of form in the ongoing Indian Premier League. He was also at the top of his game in the preceding ICC World T20, single-handedly guiding India to wins over Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
For his exploits, Kohli was named the World T20 Player of the Tournament and skipper of the World T20 team.
Rahane equalled the record of holding the highest number of catches in a Test innings during India’s series win against Sri Lanka last year under Kohli’s leadership.
According to sources, Kohli is facing competition from squash champion Deepika Pallikal, golfer Anirban Lahiri, Asian Games gold medallist shooter Jitu Rai and runner Tintu Luka.