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I Asked Punjab Government to Withdraw Khel Ratna Nomination, They Are Not At Fault: Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh feels rain will win in the India vs New Zealand match (Photo Credit; Reuters)

Harbhajan Singh feels rain will win in the India vs New Zealand match (Photo Credit; Reuters)

Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh clarified on Saturday that he had asked the Punjab government to withdraw nomination for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award as he was not eligible.

Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh clarified on Saturday that he had asked the Punjab government to withdraw nomination for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award as he was not eligible.

In a series of tweets, Harbhajan said the Punjab government was not at fault in withdrawing his name.

"1.Dear friends 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.'"

The Sports Ministry, in its document in which it explains the eligibility for anyone to be nominated for the Khel Ratna, among other points, says "spectacular and outstanding performances in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years immediately preceding the year during which the award is to be given shall be honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award."

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Harbhajan's had been nominated for the award last year as well but it was rejected as the Punjab government had sent the documents to the Sports Ministry after the deadline. This year, however, the nomination was filed on time, only for the state government to take it back with no explanation.

Harbhajan was part of the Indian teams that won the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup. With 417 wickets, he is India's third highest wicket taker in Test cricket after Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434).

(With IANS inputs)

first published:July 18, 2020, 15:48 IST