Sachin Tendulkar honoured by Australia

Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar after receiving the Order of Australia at an event in Mumbai on Tuesday, 6 Nov 2012
Image caption Tendulkar is very popular with Australian fans

Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has been awarded the Order of Australia, one of the country's highest honours.

Australian minister Simon Crean handed the award to him in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Australian PM Julia Gillard announced the award for Tendulkar last month, saying he deserved the "special honour" because he was a "very special cricketer".

Tendulkar is the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries.

The 39-year-old cricket star is also immensely popular with cricket fans in Australia.

He is the fourth non-Australian cricketer to be awarded an Order of Australia, after West Indian legends Brian Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers and Clive Lloyd.

Mr Crean said Tendulkar deserved the honour.

"From the heart of the game in London to the streets of Mumbai and throughout the world, cricket unites people from many cultures. Cricket is Australia's national game and one that we share a great love of with India. Our two countries embrace the game like nowhere else," Press Trust of India quoted Mr Crean as saying during Tuesday's ceremony.

"Today I am proud to have this opportunity to honour a great sportsman, a great cricketer, a philanthropist and someone who has inspired a generation," he added.

The cricketer has played 55 Test matches against Australia and scored 5,247 runs. Twenty of these games were played in Australia. An unbeaten knock of 241 in Sydney remains his highest score against Australia.

Tendulkar has also played 96 ODIs (one-day internationals) against Australia and scored 3,817 runs.

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