Sachin Tendulkar: from Wankhede to parliament
So it’s just a matter of time, according to media reports, before Sachin Tendulkar swaps his India jersey for starched white and walks into the Rajya Sabha.
While the clamour was growing to honour him with the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, few expected him to be nominated to the upper house.
That too when he is not yet done with cricket.
Tendulkar’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Thursday was probably the early inkling of a new innings and by afternoon, political parties were falling over each other to congratulate him.
In a cricket-crazy country that considers him ‘God’, the reaction was pretty much on expected lines.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said in a tweet that former Hindustan Lever chairman Ashok Ganguly, who occupies seat number 100 in Rajya Sabha, is even ready to vacate it for the 39-year-old Mumbaikar who has scored 100 international centuries.
For a man not really known for speaking his mind out on issues other than cricket, not many are sure how much Tendulkar can contribute as a parliamentarian.
Former police officer-turned-activist Kiran Bedi feared Tendulkar, who has maintained a squeaky clean image despite being constantly in the public eye for over two decades, might end up being used as a pawn.
“Sachin will perhaps have to guard against being used by political interests. He belongs to all,” she tweeted.
There are others like best-selling author Chetan Bhagat who wonder how Tendulkar would fit the bill in a noisy parliament which of late has seen more adjournments than action.
“My only suggestion consider taking your bat to parliament. You never know when you might need it,” Bhagat tweeted.
Well, if things get too unruly inside, Tendulkar will have the option of discussing cricket over a cup of coffee in the parliament canteen with his former captain Mohammad Azharuddin, now a Congress MP, in the lower house.
BJP MP and former cricketer Kirti Azad can also put aside politics and join them in the tête-à-tête.