New Delhi - Indian cricket legend Sachin
Tendulkar was sworn in as a member of the upper house of parliament on
Monday, but he vowed to put his on-field performance before any
Tendulkar, who is worshipped by millions of
avid cricket fans in India, was appointed to the Rajya Sabha for a seat
theoretically reserved for people who distinguish themselves in the
fields of arts, science or social service.
"It is an honour which I
accept with full respect but I am here because of my cricketing
career," he said after the low-key ceremony. "I cannot take any focus
away from my cricket because that is where it all started for me."
39, no longer plays international Twenty20 cricket but is still one of
the world's leading one-day international and Test match players and he
competed in the recent Indian Premier League season.
He is the
first active sportsman to serve in India's upper house and on Monday he
repeated that he had no immediate plans to retire.
"I am in a
better position not only to help cricket but also other sports in the
country," he said. "I would be happy if I am remembered (as) someone who
has contributed to all sports in India rather than just my cricket
Tendulkar has previously been careful to steer well
clear of India's often bitter political world, and it remains unclear
how much he will participate in parliament after his playing days are
When he was nominated in April, the Times of India said the
gesture made "little sense" while some opposition lawmakers accused the
government of crass populist politics.
Om Mathur, a member of
parliament for the main opposition BJP, said at the time that Tendulkar
was being used by the ruling Congress party to boost its support in the
cricketer's home state of Maharashtra.
Tendulkar is the world's
highest run-scorer in both Test and one-day cricket and in March became
the first batsman to complete 100 international centuries - 51 in Tests
and 49 in one-dayers.
The cricketing world first took notice of
the child prodigy when, aged 17 and playing only his ninth Test, he hit a
match-saving 119 not out against England at Old Trafford in 1990.
then he has been revered in India as a demi-god and has lived with the
intense pressure of the cricket-obsessed public believing that every
time he comes in to bat he will win the game for his team.
such challenges, the "master blaster" has retained a reputation as a
honest and humble family man who is involved in a variety of charity
His only weakness is said to be an insatiable love of fast
cars which he reportedly drives around the streets of Mumbai in the
early hours to avoid attracting attention.
Tendulkar was sworn in
on Monday by Hamid Ansari, India's vice president and the chairperson of
the upper house, in presence of his wife Anjali and lawmakers who
presented him with a yellow silk shawl after the ceremony.