Tendulkar receives Order of Australia from visiting minister
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was on Tuesday conferred membership of the Order of Australia, by that country's Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts Simon Crean.
In receiving the honour, Tendulkar became only the second Indian after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee to get it.
Speaking before media, Tendulkar hailed the spirit of the Australians, whom he described as 'fierce competitors'.
He recalled that the three and a half months he spent in Australia during his early days changed him as a cricketer.
"Three and a half months changed me completely, and, I was ready to face any attack in the world," said Tendulkar.
Narrating his most memorable trip to Australia, the Little Master said, "The most memorable trip of Australia was when I was invited by Sir Don Bradman on his 90th birthday."
Tendulkar said he was in the middle of a camp when he received the invitation and the BCCI agreed to send him for three to four days to Australia where he met the Australian legend along with former leg spinning great Shane Warne.
Tendulkar, on a funny note, also told the media about Sir Don's reaction when he asked him why his average was just 99.94. "Come on, its (99.94), not bad for a 90-year-old man," Bradman told him.
The batting genius also spoke about how the Australian spectators gave him a warm reception whenever he went in to bat.
"Whenever I went to bat there, everybody gave me a standing ovation. I laughed at times because they all thought it would be my last trip," he said.
Talking about the upcoming series between India and Australia, Tendulkar said that according to him, both sides will play competitive cricket.
Tendulkar also thanked Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and all Australians for conferring the honour on him.
Tendulkar is not the first cricketer to be conferred the Order of Australia, as in 2009, West Indies legend Brian Lara had also been 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.
The right-handed Tendulkar, considered the finest batsman in contemporary cricket, has 15,533 runs in 190 Tests besides a mammoth 18,426 runs in 463 ODIs.