The Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) has recommended young batsman Virat Kohli for the prestigious Arjuna award and former captain Sunil Gavaskar for the Dhyanchand lifetime achievement honour to the sports ministry.
Confirming this, BCCI sources said that Tuesday was the last date for recommending the awards to the sports ministry.
"We have recommended only these two names," the sources informed making it clear that no cricketer's name has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award this year.
Gavaskar, the only Indian cricketer recently named by former England umpire Dickie Bird in his select World Test XI, retired from the game in 1987 after a glorious 16-year-long career during which he became the first in the world to score 10,000 Test runs.
In all, he played in 125 Tests and was a member of the victorious Indian World Cup winning team led by Kapil Dev in 1983 and then led the country to another major one-day title, the World Championship of Cricket in Australia two years later.
Gavaskar, who will turn 64 on July 10, is currently a television commentator and a columnist.
Kohli, who won the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award last September, has been one of the most consistent Indian cricketers in recent times. His century against Australia in the Adelaide Test in January last year, the prolific scoring against New Zealand in the subsequent months, and his elevation as vice-captain for Asia Cup during the 2011-12 season have apparently contributed to his nomination.
The Sports Ministry, meanwhile, has received about 50-60 nominations from across all Nationals Sports Federations (NSFs) for the prestigious Arjuna award and another 30-40 recommendations for the Dronacharya award within the deadline that ended on Tuesday.
"We have got some 50-60 nominations for Arjuna awards and 30-40 for the Dronacharya," a ministry official told PTI.
"It will take us at least a day to compile all the names," the official added. Today was the last date for receiving nominations for the Arjuna, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Dronacharya and Dhyanchand awards.
"We would be sending the names and then a committee would be formed, which will shortlist names in June and in July the names will come to the ministry for approval," the official said.
The ministry had on Monday received two nominations for the Khel Ratna award -- para athlete HN Girisha and hockey player Sandeep Singh.
Girisha won the silver medal in high jump at the London Paralympics and that fetched him the Padma Shri earlier this year.
The Khel Ratna, India's highest honour given for achievement in sports, carries a medal, a scroll of honour and cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh.
To be eligible for the Arjuna award, a sportsperson should not only have good performances consistently for the previous three years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the award is recommended but must also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
The award consists of a statuette, a scroll of honour, ceremonial dress and a cash award of Rs 5 lakh. The Dronacharya award comprises of a plaque, a scroll of honour, ceremonial dress, and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, while the Dhyanchand award consists of a cash award of Rs 5 lakh, a plaque and a scroll of honour.
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