New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi had recommended Sachin Tendulkar's name for nomination to Rajya Sabha, according to BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, who also hinted that the government may consider conferring the prestigious 'Bharat Ratna' on the iconic cricketer after his retirement.
Tendulkar became India's first active sportsperson to become a member of Parliament in June 2012.
Shukla said the names of veterans such as Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri were actually doing the rounds for nomination to the Upper House but Sonia Gandhi was keen to have Tendulkar in Parliament.
"It was not my idea to have Sachin in Rajya Sabha. I was thinking that veterans such as Ravi Shastri or Sunil Gavaskar would be recommended but Mrs Sonia Gandhi asked me to talk to Sachin. I said, 'he's still playing' but she insisted that at least I discuss it with him.
"Then I spoke to him when he was playing in Dhaka and he said, he will discuss it with his family. Then he called me back and said his family was not averse to this (idea), and how to go about it. So this is how he became Rajya Sabha member," Shukla said at an event 'Salam Sachin', organised by India Today Group in honour of the legendary batsman.
A clamour has grown in favour of Tendukar getting the Bharat Ratna award, India's highest civilian honour.
Shukla said the government can actually consider that since Tendulkar is hanging his boots.
"This demand is there for last 2-3 years. But it cannot be done when someone is playing, there maybe some controversy. Now that he is retiring, we will try that he gets it. Hopefully, the committee (that decides) and the government will consider," Shukla said.
Shukla also revealed how the retiring legend saved the Indian cricket team from embarrassment with his mature and sane advise during the 2002 England tour.
Shukla said had it not been for Tendulkar, most of the players would have taken off their shirts and waved after the magnificent victory in the Natwest Trophy against England.
"Sourav wanted that all the players do it. Maybe he wanted to pay back Andrew Flintoff in the same coin. But Sachin came and whispered in my ears that 'this should not be done. It's a gentleman's game and if Sourav wants to do it let him do.'," Shukla said.
The BCCI Vice-President also revealed that it was Tendulkar who saved then coach John Wright from embarrassment as Ganguly wanted the New Zealander to apologise to Virender Sehwag for "slapping" him during the Oval match.
"I saw Sehwag in a bad mood. When I asked him he said that John had slapped him. It became an issue and Ganguly insisted that they will not leave (dressing room) unless Wright apologises to Sehwag. Then I found Wright and asked him if he did it. John said that 'he wanted Sehwag to score a century but Sehwag repeated his mistake of lifting the ball and got out, so I was angry. And he is like a disciple to me so I just pushed him out of anger'.
"Sachin came to me and said that 'you must ensure that John does not apologise, otherwise the coach will lose his respect'. I got back to Sehwag and explained that it was just like a father chides his son, John did it. He understood and let it go," Shukla said.