Indian cricketer Virat Kohli has been conferred with the Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honor of the country and he becomes the 28th sportsmen to receive this honor.
The Khel Ratna award is given by the government of India to recognize, ‘spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years’ at international level.
Kohli has been phenomenal in international cricket over the few years and has broken several records. He is currently ranked number one in ICC ODI and Test batting rankings.
Before Kohli, two cricketers have won this prestigious award conferred by the Indian government.
The first Khel Ratna award was offered in 1991 and six years later it was conferred upon Sachin Tendulkar who became the first cricketer to win this award.
Regarded by many as the best batsman of the 21st century, Tendulkar holds the record for most runs in Tests and ODIs and also the record for most international hundreds. In a glorious career spanning for more than 2 decades, Sachin dismantled several bowling units and was hailed by numerous top-quality bowlers as one of the toughest batsmen to get out.
After receiving the Khel Ratna in 1997-98, Sachin was conferred with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award in 2013.
After Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni received the Khel Ratna award in 2007.
MS Dhoni is India’s most successful cricket captain and is also the only captain in the world to have won the 50-over world cup, the T20I world cup and also to claim the top spot in ICC Test team rankings.
Dhoni received the Khel Ratna award after leading India to the inaugural T20I world cup in 2007. Leading a team of young cricketers, Dhoni showcased incredible leadership qualities to lift the trophy in South Africa after beating Pakistan in a nail-biting finale.