Cricketers conferred with Khel Ratna Award
Only Four Indian cricketers have won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award till now- Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, initiated in 1991-92, is regarded as the highest sports honour in India. Officially referred to as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in Sports and Games, it recognizes the most spectacular and extraordinary performance in the field of sports over a period of four years at international level.
This prestigious annual award has been conferred to many remarkable Indian sportspersons over the years. Indian Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand was the first recipient of this great honour.
Out of 45 sportsperson who have won this award, only four Indian cricketers are present in the list.
Here are the four cricketers who made their way in this esteemed list of awardees.
1) Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar was the first Indian cricketer to receive the Khel Ratna award in 1997-1998.
Starting his career in 1989, Sachin featured in 180 international matches by the end of the year 1996 and scored 7,929 international runs at an average of 44. The period between, 1996-1999, was also when the Master Blaster was at the peak of the batting world and was breaking several world records in cricket. His highest score around that time was 179 with 20 centuries- 10 each in Test and ODI under his name.
Later, Sachin was also conferred India’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in 2014 post his retirement from international cricket. He became the first sportsperson and the youngest recipient to receive this prestigious honour.
2) Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the second cricketer to be conferred this sporting honour in 2007-2008, almost after a gap of 10 years when Sachin Tendulkar received this award.
This esteemed honour was presented to the former Indian Cricket Team Captain, who led the men in blue to an astounding win in first ICC World Cup T20 in 2007.
Debuting in 2004, Dhoni established himself with his incredible skills with the bat and behind the wickets. He played 128 matches in these three years from 2004 to 2007 and scored more than 4000 runs.
3) Virat Kohli
The Indian Cricket Team skipper was awarded Khel Ratna in 2018 and became the third Indian Cricketer to receive this honour.
Starting his international cricket career in 2008, Virat Kohli played 320 cricket innings till the end of 2017. He scored 16,254 runs in the International cricket at an average of 55 till 2017.
He was already on the top his game with exemplary skills with the bat, leading the Indian cricket team in all three formats when he received this distinguished honour.
4) Rohit Sharma
The hitman was selected as the fourth Indian cricketer to receive this honour in 2020 for his outstanding performance in cricket.
Rohit Sharma is the recent entrant in this esteemed list has proved his mettle with the bat in the last six-seven years. His Khel Ratna Award win comes on the back of an incredible performance in 2019 ICC World cup, with five centuries in a single World Cup. He scored 2,442 runs in 47 international games at an average of 53 in the year in all formats.
Till now, India’s limited-over vice-captain has played in 364 international matches and scored 39 centuries.
Instead of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the award ceremony this year will be held virtually on August 29, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic .