`My priority cricket, not Bharat Ratna`
Tendulkar feels he has a long way to go before he deserves the Bharat Ratna - the highest civilian award.
Mumbai: In midst of all the adulation that’s coming his way for becoming the first-ever batsman to breach the 200 run mark in ODIs, Sachin Tendulkar is pretty grounded and feels that he has a long way to go before he deserves the Bharat Ratna.
Sachin said, “Bharat Ratna is the biggest honour for any citizen of India. There are heroes bigger than me who have got this award, and who would not want to be in that league.”
“It will be a matter of pride if I get Bharat Ratna,” he added.
Sachin also said that currently he is not thinking of any award and only wishes concentrate more on his game. “I don’t want to think about it, I just want to play. If I have to get the award, I will, but I don’t want to think about it,” he said.
There have been voices from all over demanding that the cricketing great be honoured with the Bharat Ratna – country’s highest civilian award.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was amongst the first to opine that Sachin now deserves to be a Bharat Ratna. His opinion was seconded by the Shiv Sena too.
Many cricketing legends have also come out in favour of the demand.
Describing Sachin as ‘Kohinoor’ of cricket, former captains Kapil Dev and Ajit Wadekar earlier said the milestone man should be conferred Bharat Ratna.
The record of highest International runs (31,041) and centuries (93) already by his name, Tendulkar became the first cricketer in the history of One-day cricket to score a double hundred in Gwalior.
“Sachin is the Kohinoor diamond of the game of cricket. This cricketer has unmatched talent and you can’t find another Tendulkar ever. I think, he should have got the Bharat Ratna,” Wadekar said.
India’s only World Cup winning captain Kapil also supported Wadekar’s view and said Tendulkar very much deserves the honour.
“Sachin has touched several milestones during his 20-year career in the international cricket. He certainly deserves the Bharat Ratna. We will be very happy if he gets the highest honour of the country,” Kapil said.
Kapil, though, said his views would be the same even if Tendulkar had not achieved the rare feat of scoring an ODI double hundred.
“Even if Sachin would have got a duck in this innings, still I would say that he deserves the honour. No decision should be taken on the basis of performance in one match, but I am keeping in mind his overall contribution,” he added.
Another former captain and former selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar echoed the same sentiment.
“If any player deserves the Bharat Ratna, it must be Tendulkar. He must get the award,” he said.