Team India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli gets a rare honor. The Government of India conferred Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award while honoring the India Women’s T20 vice-captain Smriti Mandhana with the Arjuna Award.
Virat Kohli is only the third Indian cricketer to be awarded the highest sporting honor in the country while Mandhana is the tenth woman cricketer to win the Arjuna award.
Virat Kohli has been in imperious touch for an elongated stretch of time with his most recent exploits as a batsman coming to the fore during the recently concluded England tour, where he finished with 593 runs in five Tests, including two hundreds and three fifties. Kohli’s overall tally of 58 international hundreds has already seen him break into the top five all-time centurions across all formats. The 29-year-old is currently ranked one on both ODI and Test list.
“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, said.
“We are extremely proud that Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana are being conferred with top honors by the Government of India. Virat is just the third Indian cricketer to receive the prestigious Khel Ratna award. This is a testimony to his work ethic, dedication, and unwavering focus. He has led India with distinction and at the same time, set new records with the bat. Playing different formats of the game, Virat has shown amazing consistency leading the side by example. This Indian team is one of the fittest sides in world cricket and a lot of credit must go to the Indian captain for bringing about this transformation,” Vinod Rai, Chairman of the Committee of Administrators, said.
The two other recipients of the Khel Ratna award are Sachin Tendulkar (1997) and MS Dhoni (2007), while the other women cricketers to have been rewarded with the Arjuna award are Shantha Rangaswamy (1976), Diana Edulji (1983), Shubhangi Kulkarni (1985), Sandhya Agarwal (1986), Mithali Raj (2003), Anju Jain (2005), Anjum Chopra (2006), Jhulan Goswami (2010) and Harmanpreet Kaur (2017).