Irfan Pathan, the former India all-rounder welcomed the move to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. He did not shy away from sharing the hope that the stadiums would also be named after eminent sports personalities.
The remarks from Irfan Pathan can be construed as a dig at the tendency of naming sports stadiums after political dignitaries. The 36-year-old also expressed optimism that the step by the Government will be the start of a new trend in sports.
Irfan Pathan Welcomes Move To Rename Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award As Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award
In his nine years of international career, Irfan Pathan saw many ups and downs, but he has played 29 Tests, 120 ODIs, and 24 T20Is. The all-rounder played under six different captains during his entire international career. The 35-year-old former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan played 173 international matches between 2003 and 2012. The all-rounder has scored almost 3000 international runs and picked 300 wickets.
“Absolutely welcome this move. Sportsman getting recognition and award being named after him or her. Hopefully start of many such things in sports (…) Hopefully in the future sports stadium names will be after sportsmen too,” Pathan tweeted.
There are several stadiums named after political leaders in India. This includes famous stadiums like the Wankhede (Mumbai), DY Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai), M Chinnaswamy Stadium (Bengaluru), and MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chennai).
World’s Largest Cricket Ground In Ahmedabad Was Named Recently After PM Narendra Modi
Former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi together have ten prominent stadiums named after them. More recently, we have seen the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium renamed after the late Arun Jaitley, while the world’s largest cricket ground in Ahmedabad was named after Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced earlier that the highest sporting honor in the country will be renamed after hockey legend Dhyan Chand. This move was welcomed by the cricket fraternity as well as the public in general.
Apart from Irfan Pathan, former Indian cricketers including Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir also hailed the decision made by the Government. The announcement came shortly after the semifinal between the Indian women’s hockey team and Great Britain in the Olympics this morning (August 6).
Irfan Pathan played his last international game at the age of 27. As far as his numbers are concerned, the Baroda-born all-rounder scored 2,821 runs and scalped 301 wickets in international cricket. The all-rounder didn’t play for India after 2012 despite doing well in national colours. For the unversed, Irfan Pathan retired from all forms of cricket in January 2020.