Asked Punjab government to withdraw my name, not eligible for Khel Ratna Award: Harbhajan Singh

Asked Punjab government to withdraw my name, not eligible for Khel Ratna Award: Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan last played for India in the 2016 Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Commentator Harbhajan Singh (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Commentator Harbhajan Singh (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Harbhajan Singh, the veteran Indian spinner, has recently withdrawn his name after being dominated for the prestigious Khel Ratna Award. The tweaker last donned the national jersey way back in 2016 against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. The now 40-year-old couldn’t make the national squad for the 2016 World T20 on Indian soil.

He made his debut for India back in 1998 and has garnered numerous laurels at the highest level. Back in 2001, he became the first Indian bowler to notch a Test hat-trick when he accomplished the feat against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. As far as the Khel Ratna Award is concerned, he dropped a series of tweets to clarify the reasons behind withdrawing his name.

Harbhajan Singh explains

“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.,” his first tweet read.

“2. The Punjab Govt is not at fault here as they have rightly withdrawn my name.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,” his second tweet read.

“Lot of confusion & 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,” his third tweet read.

Here are Harbhajan’s tweets

Harbhajan hasn’t played any form of cricket for over a year now. He last took the field for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) against the Mumbai Indians (MI) in Hyderabad. In the tournament, he bowled in various stages of games and his performances were critical in CSK’s journey to the final.

Despite him turning 40, the Super Kings retained him for the upcoming IPL season. In his international career, the spinner played 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is, where he picked up 417, 269 and 25 wickets respectively. He has scored two centuries and nine fifties in Test cricket.