Punjab govt right to withdraw my name, I’m not eligible for Khel Ratna: Harbhajan Singh

Last Updated: Sunday, 19 July 2020 (11:27 IST)
Chandigarh: India off-spinner cleared the air on why the Punjab government withdrew his nomination from this year’s award shortlist, saying that he wasn’t eligible country’s highest sporting honour.

Harbhajan said that an athlete’s performance over the last 3 years has to be taken into consideration for him/her to be shortlisted for the award.
Notably, the veteran spinner hasn’t played for India since 2016.
“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 40-year old posted on his Twitter account.
“The Punjab Govt is not at fault here as they have rightly withdrawn my name. Would urge my friends in media not to speculate. Thank you and regards,” he added.

Last year, Harbhajan’s nomination for Khel Ratna award had been rejected by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) on grounds that his documents reached late.
But, this time the spinner claims that he himself asked the Punjab government not to nominate him for the prestigious award.
“Lot of confusion and speculation regarding my nomination for Khel Ratna so let me clarify. Yes last year the nomination was sent late but this year I only asked Punjab Govt to withdraw my nomination because I don’t fall under the 3-year eligibility criteria. Don’t speculate further,” he said.
Harbhajan is an Arjuna Awardee and was also conferred with Padma Shri.
He is the 3rd-most successful bowler for India in Tests with 417 wickets from 103 Tests. He bagged 269 wickets in 236 ODIs and 25 scalps from 28 T20Is for India since his international debut in 1998. (UNI)
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