New Delhi: When Sachin Tendulkar will take the field tonight for the IPL match between Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians, he will make another record.
It will be the first time a Rajya Sabha member will play an IPL match. Although he is yet to take the oath, his has accepted the nomination that has been approved by President Pratibha Patil.
Delhi and Mumbai lock horns tonight at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi in Match 36 of the IPL 5. Delhi captain Virender Sehwag, in a lighter vein, tweeted: "My first ipl game against a rajya sabha member ;) Hope the weather holds n we get a full game today."
Tendulkar had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday at her residence, which was speculated to be a goodwill visit. It was later revealed that he was offered a Rajya Sabha nomination that he accepted.
Tendulkar will fill one of 12 seats in the Rajya Sabha that are reserved for those persons "having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service." Tendulkar is the first sportsman to be nominated in this category, which has no election process. (Former Indian hockey captain Dileep Tirkey, who took oath as a Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, was elected.)
However, commentators on the game were less enthusiastic in their response. Sanjay Manjrekar, a former team-mate of Tendulkar's and now a media analyst, said he was shocked at the news, because he could never have imagined this to be how Tendulkar wound down his career.
"My only fear is that this man is not suited for the kind of role he is being given. Until now, I've seen no sign of that. Even when the contracts dispute was on, when a players' association was being formed, it was Anil Kumble in the forefront," Manjrekar said. He also wondered how Tendulkar would balance his cricket and commitments as an MP.
Harsha Bhogle had a similar opinion. "If the nomination is an honour, I am all for it," he said. "But if it is an attempt at improving governance in India, then he doesn't have the experience."