Ever since his first tour in 1991-92, Sachin Tendulkar has established a special bond with Australia. Being one of the best to play the game, it was natural for the Little Master to win respect in Australia, known to be the toughest place to play cricket.
On Tuesday, the bond grew stronger when Tendulkar was conferred the Order of Australia.
Simon Crean, a senior minister, honoured the batsman with a medal and stump. He now joins Brian Lara, Clive Lloyd and Gary Sobers as the non-Australian cricketers to be given the honour.
Highlighting a reason for the admiration Australians have for him, Tendulkar said, “They are fierce competitors and if you do well against them, they shower you with compliments and that's what happened to me.”
Recalling his initial impression of the country, Tendulkar said, “After seeing matches in floodlights as a 12-year-old in 1985, I started dreaming of playing there.”
It turned into reality when Tendulkar played in the 1991-92 tour of Australia. “Playing for three-and-a-half months transformed me, one had to play Down Under to experience it,” he said.