Pace spearhead Ishant Sharma nominated for prestigious Arjuna Award
Indian pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is among 29 athletes who have been recommended for this year's Arjuna award by the National Sports Awards selection committee. Male recurve archer Atanu Das, women's hockey team player Deepika Thakur, kabaddi player Deepak Hooda, and tennis player Divij Sharan are also among the nominees. An official source confirmed the development following the selection committee's meeting.
Sakshi Malik, Mirabai Chanu also recommended for the award
As per media reports, Olympic wrestler Sakshi Malik and former world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu have received the committee's go-ahead for the same. However, the final decision has been left on Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju as both of them are former Khel Ratna Award winners. While Sakshi won the Khel Ratna in 2016, Mirabai grabbed the honor in 2018 along with Virat Kohli.
Ishant Sharma's credentials in Test cricket
Ishant Sharma is presently the most experienced bowler in India's Test bowling attack. Over the past few years, his record in the format has improved significantly. Having represented Team India in 97 Tests thus far, Ishant has snapped up 297 wickets at an average of 32.39. He is mere three wickets shy of becoming the third Indian pacer with 300 Test scalps.
Most Test wickets by an Indian pacer in SENA countries
Ishant has a total number of 122 Test wickets to his name in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia). Recently, he overtook Zaheer Khan's tally of 119 wickets to become the leading wicket-taker among Indian pacers in these nations.
Other athletes who have been recommended for the award
Atanu Das is an archer who represents India in the Recurve Men's Individual and Team events. Besides, Deepika Thakur is India's highest capped women's hockey player. She has represented India in over 200 matches. Indian tennis professional Divij Sharan is also among the nominees, who specializes in doubles. In 2019, he won two prestigious titles, teaming up with several partners.
The nominees for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
Previously, as many as four athletes, including Rohit Sharma, were recommended for India's highest sporting honor, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Apart from Rohit, the nomination list comprises of Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, table tennis champion Manika Batra and Paralympic gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu. Notably, the list of winners will be announced on August 29 in National Sports Awards ceremony (virtual).