Veteran Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday said it is a great honour to have been conferred with the membership of the Order of Australia. The decision to honour the cricketer was announced by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard during her visit to a cricket clinic here.
The 39-year-old cricketer, in a statement, said that he felt privileged at having been honoured. "I indeed feel privileged and honoured at receiving this recognition. As an Indian cricketer, I have always enjoyed playing against and in Australia and feel it is one of the great cricketing rivalries, which is pivotal to the health of our game," he said.
Tendulkar also said that he hopes that the honour further improves ties between the two countries and that he has 'always received tremendous affection from the Australian cricket fans.'
Interestingly, there was an uproar on Twitter after Gillard's decision to honour Tendulkar with Australian fans criticising their prime minister's decision citing Tendulkar's role in the monkeygate scandal involving the countries' cricket teams. (Read: Uproar on Twitter over Sachin's Order of Australia award).
Gillard though said while announcing the decision that cricket is a great bond between the two nations. "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)." (Read: Sachin Tendulkar honoured Down Under)