Veteran social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday said batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar deserves the honour of being conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour, for his services to the nation.
74-year-old Hazare said Tendulkar has done the country proud, and added that he deserves to be honoured for his valuable contribution.
"Sachin Tendulkar has kept the Indian flag flying high in the world. Youth are highly inspired by him and many, who consider him as their role model, have taken up cricket and want to play like Sachin. He has done a great job for the country and therefore what is the problem in felicitating him with Bharat Ratna?" he told mediapersons on the sidelines of an inaugural ceremony of a cricket academy at his native village here.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket, Tendulkar is the leading run-scorer and century maker in Test and one-day international cricket. He is the only male player to score a double century in the history of ODI cricket.
In 2002, just 12 years into his career, Wisden ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Donald Bradman, and the second greatest one-day-international (ODI) batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards.
Tendulkar was an integral part of the 2011 Cricket World Cup winning Indian team at the later part of his career, his first such win in six World Cup appearances for India.