Mumbai: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was presented with the Order of Australia by Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, at a felicitation ceremony here Tuesday.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had made the announcement on her visit to India last month, making Tendulkar only the third Indian to receive the honour after Mother Teresa and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee.
Simon Crean, who presented the award to Tendulkar, is also the minister for regional development and local government and minister for the arts.
On the occasion, Tendulkar chose to share his experience of playing against Australia.
“They are fierce competitors who play well and hard. But they also shower you with praises when you do well. And my favourite ground away from home is Sydney,” said Tendulkar.
Recollecting his maiden tour down under in 1991-92, Tendulkar said: “It completely changed me as a cricketer. It was a critical moment in my career. Three and a half months changed me completely.”
“I thought I was ready to play against any attack in the world and I can say that Australia have had some contribution in transforming me into a tougher cricketer.”
Tendulkar, 39, went on to talk about his meeting with Sir Donald Bradman.
“The most memorable trip to Australia was when I was asked to come and wish Sir Don on his 90th birthday. I was in the middle of a national camp in Chennai and the BCCI graciously agreed to send me.”
Gillard’s announcement had attracted criticism from an Australia MP and former opener Matthew Hayden, who felt that the recognition should only be given to the Australians.