President Ram Nath Kovind awarded India’s opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan the Arjuna Award in appreciation of his exceptional achievements in cricket. Dhawan made his ODI debut in 2010 and rose to prominence with India’s victory in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

In 145 ODIs for India, the southpaw has amassed 6,105 runs at an average of 45.55, with 17 hundreds and 33 fifties. In ODI cricket, he is the fastest Indian to reach 2000 and 3000 runs. In the 50-over format, he is also the second-fastest Indian to reach 4,000 and 5,000 runs. In ICC competitions, the 35-year-old has a tendency for scoring big. He scored 363 runs in five games for a mind-boggling average of 90.75 in the 2013 Champions Trophy, including two back-to-back hundreds against South Africa and the West Indies.

He was the fifth top run-getter in the 2015 ODI World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with 412 runs in eight games at 51.50, two 100s, and one 50. He shone once more in the Champions Trophy, which Pakistan won two years later. In five games, he batted 67.60 and scored 338 runs. He most recently represented India on a tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year. The Delhi-born cricketer has 2,315 runs in 34 Tests, including seven 100s and five 50s.

Apart from Dhawan, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2021 was given to Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj, Tokyo Paralympics gold winner Pramod Bhagat, Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, and Hockey team captain Manpreet Singh.

He was recently left out of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 roster and was unable to make the T20I squad for the home series against New Zealand. In the forthcoming India tour of South Africa, he is set to keep his ODI opening spot.