The list of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2018) awards has been declared. It has sparked another controversy questioning the selection process and the sports ministry’s complicated stance on India’s most popular game; cricket. Since cricketers aren’t judged on point basis, Virat Kohli – whose name was omitted in 2016 and 2017—found a mention on the list over star wrestler, Bajrang Punia (with 80 points). Bajrang’s omission and Kohli’s strange inclusion has exposed a complicated method; raising few eyebrows.
The selection committee is yet to take a call on setting a definite parameter for cricketers despite being from India’s most high-profile sport. Why are cricketers given zero points despite their pressure of performance being maximum in the country? In addition, despite securing ‘zero points’, Kohli was preferred over Bajrang who is flying high owing to recent success.
There is a certain criteria for sports persons from other field to press for Khel Ratna and other such recogntion based on their recent achievements. In this case, Bajrang ticked all boxes with a World Championship Bronze medal (2013), Silver in 2014 at Incheon Asian Games and Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and gold in recently-held Asian Games at Jakarta (65 kg category). Yet, he has been overlooked.
The question to be answered here is: to create a systematic ranking for cricketers before they are included in the prestigious award list. Since cricket remains to be the first choice among Indian viewers, a much-concrete method for their nominations will accommodate a fair deal for other sports persons.