Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar added another feather to his already crowded cap as he was conferred the membership of the Order of Australia, an honour “rarely” awarded to non-Australians, on Tuesday.
The talismanic right-hander was presented with the Order by Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts - Simon Crean - and became the second Indian with this honour after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee.
Speaking to the media Tendulkar hailed the spirit of the Aussies who according to him are ‘fierce competitors’. He said that the three and a half months he spent in Australia during his early days changed him as a cricketer.
“Three and a half months changed me completely and I was ready to face any attack in the world,” said Tendulkar.
Earlier during her visit to India last month, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had announced that the iconic Indian cricketer would be conferred the membership of the Order of Australia.
Narrating his most memorable trip to Australia, the Little Master said, “The most Memorable trip of Australia was when I was invited by Sir Don Bradman on his 90th birthday.”
Tendulkar said that he was in the middle of a camp when he received the invitation and the BCCI agreed to send him for 3-4 days to Australia where he met the Australian legend.
Tendulkar on a funny note also told the media about Sir Don’s reaction when he asked him why his average was just 99.94. “Come on, its (99.94) not bad for a 90-year-old man,” Bradman told him.
The batting genius also spoke about how the Aussie spectators gave him a warm reception whenever he went in to bat.
“Whenever I went to bat there, everybody gave me a standing ovation. I laughed at times because they all thought it would be my last trip,” he said.
Talking about the upcoming series between India and Australia, Tendulkar said that according to him, both the sides will play competitive cricket. The Master Blaster also thanked the Prime Minister and all the Australians for the honour.
Tendulkar is not the first cricketer to be conferred the Order of Australia, as in 2009, West Indies legend Brian Lara had also been made an honorary member.
Another West Indies legend, Clive Lloyd, is an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia, having been conferred the award way back in 1985.
The right-handed Tendulkar, considered the finest batsman in contemporary cricket, has 15,533 runs in 190 Tests besides a mammoth 18,426 runs in 463 ODIs.