What’s the story?
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was honoured with the Padma Shri award earlier today. Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, bestowed the award upon him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Kohli was one of the eight sportspersons including Paralympians Deepa Malik and Mariyappan Thangavelu, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, Rio Olympics wrestler Sakshi Malik, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, hockey captain PR Sreejesh, and blind cricket team captain Shekhar Naik, who received the prestigious award today.
In case you didn’t know…
First instituted in 1954, the Padma awards were introduced in a bid to recognise distinguished and exceptional achievements in fields like art, literature, medicine, social work, sports, science, civil service, public affairs and others.
The award is presented in three categories viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in decreasing order of importance. The Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in India.
The heart of the matter
Kohli has been phenomenal over the last 12 months. The 28-year-old was exceptional with the bat, scoring four double centuries in Test cricket and led the side from the front. It was under his captaincy that the national side claimed the No. 1 ranking in Test cricket and won 10 of their last 13 matches.
It was announced on the eve of Republic Day this year, as is customary, that the skipper would be honoured with the Padma Shri. As his name was announced in the ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Kohli, looking dapper in a black suit, paid his respects to the president with a Namaskar before walking up to receive his award.
The Indian skipper, who missed out on the fourth and final Test against Australia in Dharamsala, is currently nursing a shoulder injury. The Indian Premier League (IPL) kicks off next week and while the 28-year-old is expected to miss the opening game, he would hope that he regains fitness to lead his side, Royal Challengers Bangalore, in the subsequent matches.
That the Indian government has recognised their performances over the course of the last 12 months is very motivating for the sportspersons. However, one is left wondering why the likes of Pankaj Advani was not considered for the award.
Nevertheless, Kohli fully deserves the award and this would only spur him on to perform better for India.