“I have been nominated after playing cricket for twenty-two-and-a-half years. It is an honour for me. But I want to make it clear that I am not a politician; I am a sportsperson and will continue to be one,” said Tendulkar at a ceremony held in Pune to felicitate him for scoring hundred international centuries.
Breaking his silence for the first time after the controversy over his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday said that he is not a politician but a sportsperson and will continue to be one. The 39-year-old cricketer said he was honoured to be nominated to the Upper House of Parliament but would continue playing cricket.
Ruling out any possibility of entering fulltime politics while playing cricket, Tendulkar said: “At the time of nominating my name, I was told that there would be many responsibilities, but the appreciation and awards that I have received are because of cricket. I won’t stop playing cricket and enter politics. Cricket is my life.”
Tendulkar also responded to his critics, who have raised doubts over whether he would make a meaningful contribution as a Rajya Sabha member. “It is a big honour for my expertise in two fields and so, after cricket, I would make whatever contribution I can for sportsmen. I would certainly want to contribute and I need your support to do it,” said Tendulkar.
Political parties have opposed the UPA government’s move to nominate Tendulkar, with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray calling it the Congress’s “dirty picture”. The BJP has cautioned the Congress over gaining political mileage from the nomination. Tendulkar, however, insisted that the honour bestowed upon him has been previously given to others like Lata Mangeshkar and Prithviraj Kapoor for their contribution to respective fields.
“Whenever the honourable President nominates your name, it’s an honour. The nomination is for a person’s contribution to a field and it is a reflection of that,” said Tendulkar.