UPI in English  |   UPI Arabic  |   UPI en Español  |   UPIU

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar begins innings as MP

Published By United Press International
NEW DELHI, June 4 (UPI Asia) -- Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, one of the game's all-time legends, has said playing cricket would continue to be his focus despite becoming a member of Parliament.

"I am here because of my cricketing career. I cannot take any focus away from my cricket," Tendulkar said Monday after swearing as a Member of Parliament. "As and when I stop playing cricket -- I don't know when -- I will start attending to other things."

Tendulkar, 39, joins the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, as one of the 12 members of the 250-member house who are nominated by the government for their contribution to various fields such as arts, literature, social services and science.

The government announced his nomination on April 27.

India's Vice President Hamid Ansari, who doubles up as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, swore Tendulkar in his chamber as the house is not in session. The cricketer wasn't available earlier as he was playing in the domestic club tournament, the Indian Premier League that concluded last week. Tendulkar's team did not reach the finals.

Although his native tongue is Marathi, Tendulkar read the oath in Hindi.

He was brought to the Rajya Sabha by India's Parliamentary Affairs junior minister Rajiv Shukla, who is also a cricket administrator and a long-term Tendulkar associate. Two other ministers, too, were present when Tendulkar signed his papers.

The cricketer's wife, Anjali, was present, too.

"I don't want rumours to start that I have stopped playing cricket. I will let everyone know when I will stop playing cricket," the cricketer told reporters.

Parliamentary officials crowded outside Ansari's chamber as the cricketer arrived. Many snapped his picture on their mobile phones.

He said it was an honor to be nominated to Parliament.

"Today, with the nomination as Rajya Sabha member, I think I am in a better position not only to help cricket but also other sports in the country which is really important and means a lot to me," he said. "I will try my best to help other sports."

Tendulkar has several cricketing record to his name, including scoring the highest number of centuries in Test cricket and the one-day cricket, totaling 100. He has also played in the highest number of tests among all the players in the over-a-century history of the game.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Photo Gallery
1 of 1
Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa