In sensational news, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, India football skipper Sunil Chhetri, wrestler Bajrang Punia were among 9 sports stalwarts for the Padma Shri awards announced on the eve of the Republic Day on Friday.
It is cognisance of the fact that Gautam Gambhir, the dashing left-hander played a phenomenal role in helping India win the World T20 in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup. The flamboyant cricketer had called it quits from all forms of cricket on December in 2018.
While he scored a sparkling 75 against Pakistan in the World T20 final at Johannesburg, his 97 against Sri Lanka in 2011 final steered India lift the World Cup at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Gautam Gambhir touched the pinnacle of success in Tests as he reached No.1 in 2009 two years after he was ranked No.1 T20I batsman. In ODIs, Gambhir achieved his career-best 8th rank.
Gambhir spiced it up for India in 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is since making his international debut in 2003 in Dhaka. He amassed 10,324 runs in international cricket. He also enjoyed a successful career in the cash-rich Indian Premier League as he led Kolkata Knight Riders to a championship in 2012 and 2014 and is only one the three skippers to win the IPL title 2 times.
In fact, he is also the second most successful captain in the history of the IPL tourney with 71 wins in 129 matches. Gautam Gambhir has played 154 matches in IPL and scored 4218 runs in his 11 seasons. Interestingly, he also jointly holds the record for most fifties in the mega T20 league.
Sunil Chhetri outscored Lionel Messi to become the second highest international goalscorer, the first being Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo who has 85 goals to his name. Chhetri who has netted 67 goals in 105 matches, surpassed Lionel Messi who has 65 international goals to his name.
Sunil Chhetri was named as the 2017 All India Football Federation (RIFF) Player of the Year by the national body. Inspirational skipper Chhetri recently became the 2nd Indian footballer to play 100 international games after Bhaichunq Bhutia. Chhetri is a consistent striker for both India and Bengaluru FC.
Sunil Chhetri chipped 20 goals for the Blues of Bengaluru in 26 caps across the Indian Super League (ISL), Super Cup and AFC Cup in the 2017-18 season. He also continued his goalscoring form when he scored 7 goals in 16 matches for the Blues in the I-League 2017 before they climbed ladders to the cash-rich ISL.
The star striker has earlier won the AIFF Player of the Year on 4 occasions before 2018. He won it in 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014. He played a spectacular role in the Intercontinental Cup where he scored 8 goals in 4 appearances including a stellar hat-trick against Taiwanese Side. We also witnessed India lifting the Cup with tons of pride.
Bachendri Pal – Mountaineering
Gautam Gambhir – Cricket, Sunil Chhetri – Football, Harika Dronavalli – Chess, Sharath Kamal – Table Tennis, Bombayla Devi – Archery, Prashanti Singh – Basketball, Ajay Thakur – Kabaddi, Bajrang Punia – Wrestling.