Dravid again nominated for India’s top sports award


New Delhi : India's cricket captain Rahul Dravid has been recommended for the country's highest sports award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, for the second time, the board said Friday.

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Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said that besides Dravid, ace left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh and former women's national captain Anjum Chopra have been recommended for the Arjuna Award, the oldest and most prestigious sports award of the country.

"The board has recommended Dravid for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (for the second successive year), and Yuvraj and Anjum for the Arjuna Award," Shah told IANS.

The Rajiv Khel Ratna is presented to the most spectacular and outstanding performance of the year and carries a cash award of Rs.500,000 besides a scroll and medallion.

World champion woman boxer Mary Kom and ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi are the other sportspersons who have also been recommended for the top award.

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar is the only cricketer so far to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, which was instituted in 1991 superseding the Arjuna Award.

Dravid, who lost the race for the top award to world champion cueist and fellow Banglorean Pankaj Advani last year, has been the most consistent Indian batsman for the last several years.

The 34-year-old has carried the responsibilities admirably, tallying 9,366 runs in 109 Test matches at an average of 57.46. He has also smashed 24 centuries and 47 half-centuries.

In 315 One-day Internationals (ODIs), the right-hander has aggregated 10,189 runs at 40.11. He has hit 12 centuries and 78 half-centuries.

Yuvraj, 25, is an exciting left-handed batsman. He has aggregated 830 runs in 19 Tests and 4,573 in 168 ODIs.

Anjum, 30, has played 12 Tests and scored 548 runs at 30.44 and in 105 ODIs the left-hander has scored 2,465 runs at 34.71.

Arjuna Award, which was instituted in 1961, is presented for outstanding performances for three successive years. It carries a cash prize of Rs.300,000, a statute of the Hindu mythological warrior Arjuna and a scroll.