Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was to be conferred with the membership of the Order of Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday during her first visit to India as Australia's leader that Sachin would be awarded with the honorary member of the Order of Australia.
She described it was a "special honour" which is rarely conferred on non-Australians.
The 39-year-old Tendulkar, who is currently in South Africa playing in the Champions League Twenty20, will become only the second Indian after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee to get the honour.
Sorabjee was made an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for service to Australia-India bilateral legal relations" in 2006.
"Cricket is of course a great bond between Australia and India. We are both cricket-mad nations. I am very pleased that we are going to confer on Sachin Tendulkar, membership of the order of Australia (AM)," Gillard, who is on a visit to India, told reporters here.
"This is a very special honour very rarely awarded to someone who is not an Australian citizen or an Australian national. The award will be conferred on him by cabinet Minister Simon Crean when he visits India," she said.
"So, a special honour and a very special recognition of such a great batsman. The honour is very special and Sachin is a very special cricketer."
Tendulkar is not the first cricketer to be made an Order of Australia AM as in 2009, West Indies legend Brian Lara was also 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.
Tendulkar scripted history this year by becoming the first cricketer in the world to score 100 international centuries, a phenomenal feat which may remain unconquered for years to come.
With an over two decade long career, records are fairly routine for Tendulkar but for the cricketing fraternity every run he scores just adds to the legend that the diminutive right-hander has become.
The champion batsman has perhaps every batting record that is there to be taken under his belt and adding to the countless tally is the historic hundred he scored against England in the post-lunch session.
Much before his debut on November 15, 1989, Tendulkar's precocious talent was there to be seen when he shared an unbeaten 664-run stand with buddy Vinod Kambli in the Lord Harris Shield Inter-School Game in 1988.
The 1989 international debut was far less spectacular, in fact forgettable. A Waqar Younis bouncer left him with a bleeding nose but Tendulkar did not wince and the next two decades saw him punishing bowlers all over the world on all kind of surfaces.
His first Test century came in England next year at Old Trafford and the Mumbaikar rose in stature after the 1991-92 tour of Australia, hitting sublime centuries on a Sydney turner and a Perth minefield.
The rest is history. No existing batting record seemed safe. Other than Brian Lara's Test match highest of 400 not out and first class highest score of 501 not out, every batting record became Tendulkar's.
A staggering 15533 runs scored in 190 Tests at a robust average of 55.08 confirmed Tendulkar's greatness in the longer version of the game.
And in the 463 ODIs he played, a whopping 18426 were added to his mountain of runs at an average of 44.83.
Tendulkar is also the only batsman in the world who has scored a double ton in ODIs, a feat he achieved in Gwalior against South Africa in February. This feat was included in Times magazine's top 10 sports moments of the year.