“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 cricketer tweeted.

“The Punjab Govt is not at fault here as they have rightly withdrawn my name. Would urge my friends in media not to speculate.”

Harbhajan, who has 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets is an Arjuna Awardee and was additionally conferred with Padma Shri. Harbhajan final represented India in Test and ODIs in 2015.

Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi stated that his division withdrew the nomination solely after receiving an e mail from Harbhajan, stating that he did not meet the eligibility standards for the award.

“We had strongly recommended his nomination. But before it could go to the screening committee or scrutiny committee, he (Harbhajan) advised us to withdraw his application,” Sodhi instructed PTI.

“I think he must have seen the latest criteria which the government of India has for the Khel Ratna award and may be something which he noticed that it cannot happen or maybe he is thinking over applying for some other award. Whenever he asks us, we will recommend him because he is a top sportsman and a very fine gentleman. Punjab sports department has no issues,” stated Sodhi.

Last 12 months, Harbhajan’s nomination for the Khel Ratna was rejected by the Sports Ministry on grounds that his paperwork had reached late.

The cricketer had requested the Punjab sports activities minister to intervene on the time. Harbhajan, who has 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets respectively, is an Arjuna Awardee and was additionally conferred with the Padma Shri. He final represented India in Test and ODIs in 2015.





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