The 33-year-old opener will be the fourth cricketer to receive the honour.

India’s star wrestler Vinesh Phogat, cricketer Rohit Sharma, Table Tennis player Manika Batra and Paralympic gold medal-winning high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu have been recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

According to PTI, The sports ministry’s selection committee chose these athletes on Tuesday in a meeting at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) headquarters in New Delhi.

The 12-member committee includes former stars like Virender Sehwag and Sardar Singh. This is the second time since 2016 that four athletes have been chosen for the Khel Ratna award.

Badminton star PV Sindhu, shooter Jitu Rai, wrestler Sakshi Malik and gymnast Dipa Karmakar had received the country’s highest sporting honour in 2016.

Rohit Sharma has been in terrific form in the last few years, consistently scoring big runs for the Indian cricket team, while Vinesh Phogat has won numerous medals after a horrific injury during the 2016 Rio Olympics. The aggressive Indian opener will be the fourth cricketer to receive the Khel Ratna award. Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli have already got their hands on the honour.

Vinesh Phogat won gold medals at the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games and a bronze medal at the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships, which made her a contender for the award.

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On the other hand, Mariyappan Thangavelu has been rewarded for his gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in the T42 high jump category. T42 category applies to athletes with single above the knee amputations or a disability that is comparable.

Manika Batra got the recognition for her amazing performance in 2018, as she won gold at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the Asian Games. She still has to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.