There was an uproar on the social microblogging site Twitter after Australian Primer Minister Julia Gillard announced Tuesday that Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar would be conferred with the Member of the Order of Australia award.
Gillard, who made the announcement during a visit to a cricket clinic here organised by an NGO Magic Bus, said the "special honour", known as AM, would be awarded by Australian Cabinet Minister Simon Crean when he visits India soon.
"I'm very pleased we're going to confer on Sachin Tendulkar membership of the Order of Australia, an AM," she told reporters here.
"This is a very special honour, very rarely awarded to someone who is not an Australian citizen or an Australian national.
Australian cricket fans criticised their prime minister's decision citing Tendulkar's role in the monkeygate scandal involving the countries' cricket teams.
The star batsman was a key witness in the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds racism controversy in 2008.
Australian paper Herald Sun held a poll on their website asking if Tendulkar deserved the award. As of 4.30 p.m. IST, a total number of 3101 votes were registered with 43.79 percent voting in favour of the Indian maestro and 56.21 percent saying no.
Here are some of the tweets:
Malcolm Conn @malcolmconn:
#cricket How can PM Julia Gillard award Tendulkar an Order of Australia after his central role in the Monkeygate racism scandal?
Peter Chambers @Wombatfinanc:
Gillard's Order of Australia to Tendulkar is an insult to @CricketAust #MonkeyGate a racist attack on an Aussie. Remember Tendulkar? #auspol
Greg Baum @GregBaum:
I love Sachin, but Order of Australia? I only ever saw him making disorder of Australia.
Cameron Hamilton @cam_hamilton:
Why is Sachin Tendulkar getting an Order of Australia before Shane Warne?
Pretty blatant marketing by Gillard giving Indian cricketer, who's done nothing of significance for Aus (a criteria), an Order of Australia.