Thursday, August 7

Dhoni deserves to be Khel Ratna

Hailing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the "backbone of Indian cricket", chairman of the Arjuna Award selection committee Milkha Singh said the ODI and Twenty20 captain is a deserving receipent of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

Dhoni was on Monday conferred with the award, making him only the second cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar to be bestowed the country's highest sporting honour.

"From my side I tried my best and gave the award to whoever deserved. Four or five candidates were in contention for the award but Dhoni was the best among the lot. The whole country wanted Dhoni to get the award," Milkha Singh said last night on the sidelines of a book release function. The 'Flying Sikh' also said the decision to confer the award to Dhoni was taken unanimously by the selection committee.

"He has done tremendously well after coming to the national team. He is the backbone of Indian cricket. The decision to give Dhoni the award has been taken with full support of all members in the selection committee," he stated. Milkha Singh also brushed aside reports that Indian ODI skipper's application was received late by the Sports Ministry. "The Sports Ministry has told me that they have received Dhoni's application before the deadline of July 27, but due to some internal hazards they were not able to trace the application. However, they later extended the deadline by a day or two," he said.

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