Gautam Gambhir's prolific run of form since the start of 2008 has earned him a national honour from the President of India, Pratibha Patil. Gambhir on Saturday became the 41st cricketer to be felicitated with the Arjuna Award, instituted in 1961 by the Indian government to recognise outstanding achievement in national sport.
Since the start of last year, Gambhir has averaged 75.19 in Tests with five centuries - he has scored six in all since his debut in November 2004 - and seven fifties. Two of those hundreds came against Australia in the home series towards the end of 2008, which India won 2-0. He followed that up with two centuries in India's 1-0 Test series win in New Zealand and played a critical role in drawing the second Test in Napier after India followed on. In 41 ODIs during the same time span, Gambhir averaged 44.31, scoring four centuries and nine fifties.
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag are among the other cricketers to have received this honour. Gambhir is the first cricketer to receive this award in three years; Anjum Chopra, the Indian batsman, who represents the women's team was the last recipient of this honour.