Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been awarded the Padma Bhushan - the third-highest civilian award in India. The former Test captain, who is still an active member of the limited-overs side, is the 11th cricketer to be conferred with the prestigious award. The Padma Bhushan, instituted back in 1954, is given for distinguished service of a high order.



Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the best captains in the history of Indian cricket. The 36-year-old made his international debut back in 2005, and has led India to glory at the inaugural World T20 in 2007, the ODI World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013. It was during his captaincy reign, when India reached top of the Test rankings.

Dhoni has already called time on his Test career, but remains the side's first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman in both ODI and T20I teams. Dhoni is also only 102 runs short of becoming just the fourth Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid to reach the landmark of 10,000 ODI runs.

While nominating his name for the award, BCCI's acting president CK Khanna reckoned that Dhoni was 'a unanimous and the most choice.'

"It was a unanimous decision by the members. He has been one of the greatest names in contemporary cricket and the most appropriate choice of the Indian cricket board. He is one of our greatest ODI cricketers with nearly 10,000 runs in ODIs. Not many players have played 90 Test matches. There is no one better than him, who could have been nominated," Khanna had said.

The last cricketer before Dhoni, to get the award was another former skipper - Rahul Dravid in 2013.