Tendulkar given Order of Australia honour
Sachin Tendulkar will become the fourth non-Australian cricketer to receive an Order of Australia honour. The prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, made the announcement while visiting a cricket clinic in Delhi and she said Tendulkar, who is currently in South Africa for the Champions League Twenty20, would receive the honour from cabinet minister Simon Crean, who is due to visit India soon.
"I'm very pleased we're going to confer on Sachin Tendulkar membership of the Order of Australia, an AM," Gillard told reporters in Delhi. "This is a very special honour, very rarely awarded to someone who is not an Australian citizen or an Australian national.
"He is away playing cricket - surprise, surprise - but the award will be conferred on him by minister Crean when [he] visits India. So a very special honour and a very special recognition of such a great batsman."
No cricketer has played more matches against Australia than Tendulkar, who has played against them 106 times across Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. He has toured Australia five times for Test series, from 1991 to 2011, and only Jack Hobbs has scored more Test runs against the Australians.
Tendulkar will be the first non-Australian cricketer to be made an honorary member of the Order of Australia since Brian Lara, who was given the award in 2009. Lara was given the title "for service to Australia-Caribbean relations by promoting goodwill, friendship and sportsmanship through the sport of cricket".
In 1985, the former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was made an honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, which ranks higher in the Australian honour system than the member of the Order of Australia, for his "outstanding and positive influence on the game in Australia".
Another West Indian, Sir Garfield Sobers, was also made a member of the Order of Australia in 2003, "for service to cricket as a player and supporter of young players, particularly from disadvantaged areas and groups, and to the community through support for charitable organisations". However, Sobers holds Australian citizenship through marriage, so his award was not considered "honorary".
Approximately 20 Australian cricketers have been given Order of Australia honours, including Sir Donald Bradman, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Mark Taylor, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, Dennis Lillee, Max Walker, Bob Simpson, Keith Miller, Justin Langer, Bill Lawry, Ricky Ponting, Peter Burge, Ron Archer, Alan Davidson, Dean Jones and Belinda Clark.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here