NEW DELHI:Amid unprecedented political lobbying for the Bharat Ratna, former Cricket Captain Ajit Wadekar said Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar should in fact be given the country's highest civilian honour after he belted his 39th cricket Test century on Thursday.
"If any one has to be given Bharat Ratna it is Sachin Tendulkar since it is he who deserves the most," said Wadekar who joined former cricketers in showering encomiums on the 35-year-old batting maestro shortly after he fired another ton in the fourth Test against Australia in Adelaide.
The suggestion came with just a day left for the announcement of the National Awards. However, no one has been awarded Bharat Ratna for the last five years. Political parties have been lobbying since the past one month for the Ratna to be awarded to their leaders and the names proposed included Atal Behari Vajpayee, Kanshi Ram, M Karunanidhi and Karpoori Thakur.
Wadekar's suggestions came four days after visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in New Delhi that he would recommend Tendulkar for knighhtood for his accomplishments on the cricket field.
"I would like to see some of the great players of the modern era--like Sachin Tendulkar--proposed for honorary awards so that the British nation can salute their achievements," Brown said. If that happens, the little master could be the first Indian sports Knight.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who made his international Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989 at a tender age of 16 is no stranger to awards and is a recipient of several honours.
Tendulkar is a recipient of Arjuna Award given for accomplished sportsmen (1994) and Padma Shri in 1999. He was given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the country's highest sporting honour, in 1998. He was also chosen as the Wisden cricketer of the year in 1997 while 'Time' magazine named him in November 2006 as one of the Asian heroes.