Mumbai: Finally and officially, Cricket's all time great India's Sachin Tendulkar was conferred the ‘Order of Australia’ by Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, at an honouring ceremony in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The award was due after the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had announced in her October visit to India that Tendulkar will be handed over the prestige in the form of OoA.
With the award, Tendulkar has become only the third Indian to receive the honour after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and the lady who loved all respected Mother Teresa.
The award was presented to Tendulkar by Simon Crean who also happens to be minister for regional development and local government and minister for the arts of the Kangaroos' land.
After being asked to enlighten the audiences and the sports lovers with his words, the greatest batsman in the history of Cricket chose to open his experiences of playing against the Aussies.
He said, "They are fierce opponents who play well and hard. But they also shower you with praises when you do well."
Revealing about his favourite playing destinations outside the country, he said, "My favourite ground away from home is the SCG."
Recalling the memories of long ago maiden tour down under in Australia in the year 1991-92, Tendulkar said, "It completely changed me as a cricketer. It definitely was a critical moment in my cricketing career. Three and a half months changed me completely."
"I used to think 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 said praising the Australian bowling attack.
The 39-year-old went on to talk about his first meeting with Sir Donald Bradman. About it, the maestro said, “The most unforgettable 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."
Earlier, Julia Gillard had announced to give the Order of Australia to Tendulkar but it was skirted by criticism from her own countrymen and cricket players.
Even Australia's former left handed batsman said that he would love to see Tendulkar as the PM of Australia but only if he was an Aussie. According to Hayden, the award should only be conferred to the Australian residents.