Harbhajan explains why Punjab government withdrew his Khel Ratna nomination
Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh explained why the Punjab government withdrew his nomination from Khel Ratna award shortlist. The 40-year-old said he hasn't represented India for the last three years, which makes him ineligible to enter the nomination list. In a series of Tweets, Harbhajan cleared the air, urging the media to stop speculating over the matter. Here is what he wrote.
Here is what Harbhajan wrote on Twiiter
"Lot of confusion regarding my nomination for Khel Ratna. Yes last year the nomination was sent late but this year I only asked Punjab Govt to withdraw my nomination because I don't fall under the 3-year eligibility criteria. Don't speculate further," he wrote.
Harbhajan gives further clarification
1.Dear friends— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 18, 2020
I have been flooded with calls as to why Punjab Govt withdrew my name from Khel Ratna nominations. The truth is I am not eligible for Khel Ratna which primarily considers the international performances in last three years.
Punjab government rightly withdrew my name: Harbhajan
2.The Punjab Govt is not at fault here as they have rightly withdrawn my name. Would urge my friends in media not to speculate. Thank you and regards 🙏🙏— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 18, 2020
A look at his international career
Harbhajan was the nucleus of Indian spin bowling in the 2000s. He rose to prominence in the 2001 Australian series, wherein he clinched a historic hat-trick. The right-arm off-spinner paired up with yet another legend Anil Kumble to make one of the greatest spin bowling pairs in world cricket. In a career spanning over 20 years, Harbhajan has taken 711 international wickets at 32.54.
Harbhajan's last international appearance was in 2016
Harbhajan last represented Team India in a T20I against UAE at the 2016 Asia Cup. He even stopped playing First-class and List A cricket after 2017. However, he has been a crucial part of Chennai Super Kings camp in the Indian Premier league since 2018. He was impressive in the previous edition, having accounted for 16 scalps at an average of 19.50.
The nomination process of Khel Ratna award
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, officially known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games, is the highest sporting honor of India. Notably, the recipients are selected for their outstanding performances in the field of sports over a period of four years.
Harbhajan has previously bagged Padma Shri and Arjuna award
The Indian spin bowling veteran has bagged a number of awards during his long-standing career. In 2009, Harbhajan Singh secured the Padma Shri (India's fourth-highest civilian award), alongside former skipper MS Dhoni. He was also conferred with the Arjuna award in 2003, for his consistent run in the sport. Besides, he will be seen playing for CSK in the impending IPL edition.