Aussies have utmost respect for Sachin Tendulkar, says Mark Webber

The decision to confer Sachin Tendulkar with the 'Order of Australia' might not have gone down well Down Under, but the Australian F1 driver Mark Webber today said his country has "utmost respect" for the "incredible" Indian batsman.

"Sachin Tendulkar has just been an incredible cricketer and one of the most amazing sportspersons the world has seen. Australians have utmost respect for him. The government, the people, everyone respects him," the Red Bull driver Webber, said.

"He has set a very high benchmark for every other Indian cricketer and every young player looks up to him. He has scored lot of runs," he said.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, during her recent visit to India, had announced that Tendulkar would be conferred with the Membership of the Order of Australia, an honour "rarely" awarded to non-Australians.

ozThe 'Order of Australia' is an order of chivalry to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service. The 39-year-old Tendulkar will be awarded an AM, which is one of the six grades in the Order of Australia.

Tendulkar, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, will become only the second Indian after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and the first sportsperson from the country to get the honour.

Former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden had made his displeasure clear when he said that the honour should be "exclusive" to his countrymen and only they should be conferred with such awards.

However, the 36-year-old Webber had a different take on the whole issue.

"We have given the Order of Australia to cricketers from other nations too. They have been doing it for a while now. We gave it to Garfield Sobers and Brian Lara. If we can give it to Lara then Tendulkar certainly deserves it," he said.

© Times of India