26 February 2010
NEW DELHI: Describing Sachin Tendukar as 'Kohinoor' of cricket, former captains Kapil Dev and Ajit Wadekar on Friday said the milestone man should be conferred Bharat Ratna - India's highest civilian award.
The record of highest International runs (31,041) and centuries (93) already by his name, Tendulkar on Wednesday became the first cricketer in the history of One-day cricket to score a double hundred in Gwalior.
"Sachin is the Kohinoor diamond of the game of cricket. This cricketer has unmatched talent and you can't find another Tendulkar ever. I think, he should have got the Bharat Ratna," Wadekar said.
India's only World Cup winning captain Kapil also supported Wadekar's view and said Tendulkar very much deserves the honour.
"Sachin has touched several milestones during his 20-year career in the international cricket. He certainly deserves the Bharat Ratna. We will be very happy if he gets the highest honour of the country," Kail said.
Kapil, though, said his views would be the same even if Tendulkar had not achieved the rare feat of scoring an ODI double hundred.
"Even if Sachin would have got a duck in this innings, still I would say that he deserves the honour. No decision should be taken on the basis of performance in one match, but I am keeping in mind his overall contribution," he added.
Another former captain and former selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar echoed the same sentiment.
"If any player deserves the Bharat Ratna, it must be Tendulkar. He must get the award," he said.
Wadekar also hoped that Tendulkar would continue to play even after the 2011 World Cup, to be co-hosted by India Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"Sachin has proved with his fielding how fit still he is. I think, he can play for at least two more years after the World Cup next year."
Wadekar, who has also worked with Tendulkar as coach of the national team, supported the view of former England captain Nasser Hussain that Tendulkar was better than even Don Bradman, the iconic Australian batsman.
"I don't think any batsman can be better than Tendulkar, not even Bradman. Sachin has succeeded in all the three forms of cricket - Test, one-dayer and Twenty20," Wadekar said.