Indian Men’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli becomes the third cricketer to be awarded the highest sporting honour of India. Kohli received Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award from President Ram Nath Kovind on 25th of September. Before VK, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni had been honoured in 1997 and 2007 respectively.
Virat Kohli’s contributions led to a prosperous home season for team India in the previous year. Not just that, the skipper displayed his excellence in the recently concluded England series as well. He managed to grab a total of 593 runs which included two tons and three fifties off five Tests. At the young age of 29, Virat has already secured his place among the Elite group in world cricket. He is also the Rank#1 batsman in ODI and Tests presently.
Virat’s tally of 58 international hundreds saw him break into the list of top five all-time centurions across all formats already. With 35 ODI hundreds, Virat is already at the second place in the list of most ODI century getters. He is 14 tons behind Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
The Khel Ratna award is yet another feather in Virat Kohli’s cap. He was named the ICC Player of the Year in 2017, he swept the BCCI awards and has now been conferred with the highest sporting award, which is truly a remarkable feat. His hunger for runs is insatiable and I am sure under his leadership, the Indian team will be a top-ranked side in all three formats— BCCI acting honorary secretary, Amitabh Choudhary.
Virat Kohli jointly shared the award with India’s weightlifting pride Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. Chanu had grabbed the gold medal in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. She was also honoured with the Padma Shri by the government of India earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Indian women’s cricket team player Smriti Mandhana got honoured with the Arjuna Award. The vice-captain of the women’s T20 side is the tenth woman cricketer to win the Arjuna award.