India's prestigious Padma Shri award will be conferred upon Test cricket's middle-order stalwart VVS Laxman, for outstanding services in the field of sports.
Laxman now joins an elite group of Indian cricketers who have got the country's fourth highest civilian award, which includes former Indian captains Bishan Singh Bedi (1970), Kapil Dev (1982) and Anil Kumble (2005) as well as Sachin Tendulkar (1999), Saurav Ganguly (2004), Rahul Dravid (2004), Harbhajan Singh (2009) and present captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2009).
Other national level cricketers to be conferred with the award are Nari Contractor (1962), Polly Umrigar (1962), Syed Mushtaq Ali (1963), M J Gopalan (1964), M A K Pataudi (1967), G Vishwanath (1971), B S Chandrashekar (1972), Pankaj Roy (1975), Syed Kirmani (1982) and S Venkataraghavan (2003)
Laxman, a Test specialist, bears an outstanding average of 47.32 with 16 centuries and 49 fifties to his credit in a career going on 15 years. He made his Test debut against Soth Africa in Ahmedabad in Nov, 1996 and played his last Test against the same opposition earlier this month.
Oddly enough, Laxman had once said in an interview, "I hope the government recognises my performances. It does hurt to be ignored because I feel I deserve the Padma Shri award. After all, being rewarded for your efforts gives you a lot of satisfaction."
Well, it seems he got his wish.