BCCI to nominate Dravid for Khel Ratna, Yuvi for Arjuna

Mumbai: Batting great Rahul Dravid, who announced his international retirement recently, is being recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award by the BCCI which has also nominated Yuvraj Singh for the Arjuna award. The names of Dravid, a former Indian captain, and Yuvraj Singh, the player of the World Cup who has now started training again after recovering from cancer, will be forwarded to the Sports Ministry next week.

"We will be forwarding the names of Rahul Dravid for Khel Ratna Award and Yuvraj Singh for the Arjuna Award next week (to the government)," BCCI`s CAO Prof Ratnakar Shetty told PTI today. The Government had recently extended the deadline for the nominations till July 20. The 39-year-old Dravid retired from all forms of the game at the international level following the Test series in Australia last year after having accumulated over 23,000 runs in Tests and ODIs combined since making a spectacular debut at Lord`s in 1996.

If awarded the highest sports award in the country that was instituted in 1991-92, former India captain Dravid would follow the footsteps of his illustrious ex-teammates Sachin Tendulkar (1997-98) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007-08) as the third cricketer to win the coveted award. So far 20 sportspersons have been bestowed the award.

Yuvraj, who has started practising at the nets at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore after his battle with a rare form of germ cell cancer between his lungs, was India`s hero in the 2011 World Cup triumph.

"It`s an honour that BCCI has nominated my name for the Arjuna Award. This is the second time that my name has been nominated and I hope that I am lucky enough to get it," Yuvraj told reporters in New Delhi. Incidentally, the BCCI`s recommendations came after a miscommunication with the Sports Ministry regarding the last date for filing the nomination form.

The BCCI had alleged that they did not have an intimation about the nomination like earlier years, a claim which was strongly refuted by the Sports Ministry. However a couple of days back, the Joint Secretary in the Sports Ministry Mukul Chatterjee called up at the BCCI office to inform about the date of nomination being extended till July 20.