Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday said there was no doubt that master blaster Sachin Tendulkar deserved to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.
"Sachin is a Bharat Ratna. There is no doubt that he should be conferred the Bharat Ratna award. Sachin deserves all honours and I am his great fan," Ganguly said.
Tendulkar is one short of scoring a record 100th international centuries.
Here to lead Bengal in a crucial Ranji tie against Baroda, Ganguly's statement assumes significance as the government recently made necessary changes in the eligibility criteria for the award, making sportspersons eligible for the highest honour.
The prestigious honour will now be awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance "in any field of human endeavour", thus bringing in almost all the areas that were earlier left out of the ambit.
Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken has said that this move has cleared the decks for Tendulkar, legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand and others to get the award.
Reports indicated that the change has been brought in through a notification from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) following a recommendation by the Home and Sports Ministries.
On Thursday, a research report in Australia described Tendulkar as the greatest ever Test batsman ahead of even Sir Donald Bradman.