The decision to offer the membership of Order of Australia to batting great Sachin Tendulkar may have evoked mixed reactions in that country, but there are many who strongly support the move. And among them is Australia’s greatest ‘keeper-batsman, Adam Gilchrist.
“When I got to know about it, I messaged him saying ‘Welcome to the club’ and was thrilled to get a reply in return, because I was fortunate enough to be conferred with the same honour (2010). The award certainly is a mark of respect to a great man,” Gilchrist, whose 472 dismissals is the highest by a wicketkeeper in ODIs, said on Monday.
Justifying his decision, even as his former teammate Matthew Hayden came out pretty strongly against it, Gilchirst added: “The debate around this award and the variety of opinion is testimony of how amazing a profile Sachin (Tendulkar) has. In his 22 years of international cricket, he has helped forge a tremendous relationship between the two countries.”
Gilchrist, however, chose not to dwell too much into the growing calls for Tendulkar’s retirement.
“He has 22 years of international cricket behind him. And a few times in 22 years, there’s going to be some trough. I am not saying he is in a trough or not, I am not entitled to an opinion as to where he places himself. We have been asked if he has reached his peak on several occasions. I am sure even Sachin doesn’t feel he is at the peak of his career. I have got no doubt that his desire and appetite for success remains as intact as ever.
“Recently, I read somewhere that he is playing a Ranji Trophy match this week, his first one in three or four years. The fact that he wants to go and take that as preparation, with a serious Test series coming up, is a testament to his professionalism and commitment to the game,” added Gilchrist, who was in the city at the launch of an annual scholarship, named in honour of Donald Bradman for Indian students to study in Australia at the University of Wollongong.