Instituted in 1991/92, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honour in India. Vishwanathan Anand was the first to receive the award in the year it was instituted for his achievements in Chess. Since then, 45 sportspeople from the country received this honour for achievements in various sports. There is a tedious selection process for the same. Out of the 45 sportspeople who received this award till date, only four of them are cricketers.
Here are the four cricketers who received this award:
1. Sachin Tendulkar | 1997/98
Sachin Tendulkar was the first cricketer and the eighth sportsperson to receive the prestigious Khel Ratna Award. Even though he went on to win the Bharat Ratna later on, this award will remain quite special. Till the end of 1996, Sachin featured in 180 international matches. The 1996-99 period was also when he was at his peak and was breaking several records.
Till the end of 1996, the Master Blaster scored 7,929 international runs at an average of 44. His highest score back then was 179 and he registered 20 international centuries – 10 each in Test and ODI cricket. Moreover, he also picked up 47 wickets with the ball.
2. MS Dhoni | 2007/08
It took 10 years after Sachin Tendulkar for a cricketer to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. It is was none other than the legendary Indian skipper MS Dhoni who was bestowed with this honour. MS Dhoni led the team to the 2007 T20 World Cup triumph.
The wicket-keeper batsman was just about getting established as an important batsman in the team when he received this award. From 2004 till the end of 2007, MS Dhoni played 128 international games and scored 4175 runs. He had four international centuries to his name back then.
3. Virat Kohli | 2018
Virat Kohli, 11 years after MS Dhoni receiving the honour, was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. By the time Virat received this award, he was already regarded as one of the best in the world, unlike the previous two who received the award when they were just starting off. Kohli started leading the Indian Cricket Team in all three formats as well.
By the end of 2017, Virat Kohli played a stunning 320 international games. He scored 16,254 international runs including a high score of 243 and 52 centuries, all at an average of nearly 55. It was only just that he received the award for these stunning achievements.
4. Rohit Sharma | 2020
Rohit Sharma is the most recent cricketer to have received the Khel Ratna. In the last six or seven years, Rohit Sharma has grown as one of the most important members of the Indian team. He is irreplaceable in the ODI and T20I teams at the moment and has a good record in Test cricket as well.
2019 was one of the best years of Rohit Sharma’s career. He struck five centuries in the World Cup 2019. He scored 2,442 runs in 47 international games at an average of 53 in the year. The 33-year-old even registered 10 centuries and 10 half-centuries in 2019. Overall, till the end of 2019, Rohit played 357 international games and scored 13,718 runs including 38 centuries.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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