After former India cricket captain Kapil Dev and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, it is the turn of Indian skipper M S Dhoni and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra to get the Lieutenant Colonel rank from the Territorial Army.

President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday conferred the honorary Lieutenant Colonel rank on the ace sportsmen for their immense contribution to Indian sports.

A Defence Ministry spokesperson told the media that Dhoni and Bindra had been bestowed with the honour for their outstanding contribution in the field of cricket and shooting respectively and for the commitment they have shown to the Army on various occasions.

In April last, Dhoni was instrumental in leading team India to a World Cup victory. He was also responsible for taking the team to the No 1 spot in Test rankings for the first time ever.

Bindra, on the other hand, won the sole individual Olympic gold medal for India at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Both the sportsmen have joined the ranks of cricketers - Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar. While Kapil Dev is an honorary Lt Col in the Territorial Army, Tendulkar is an honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force.

Apparently, the Defence Ministry has given approval to let Dhoni and Tendulkar fly in IAF's frontline Su-30MKI aircraft at the Lohegaon airbase.