New Delhi: Sports Minister MS Gill on Friday advised Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh to learn from their team-mate Sachin Tendulkar how to treat national awards with respect and said the batting maestro is a 'true gentleman'.
"Last year I was so delighted to see Tendulkar attending the function to receive his award. What a gentleman he is," Gill said.
"Why they don't copy Tendulkar or Dravid or Kumble who are my heroes. They are gentlemen in cricket with great and greater achievements," he said.
Dhoni and Harbhajan came under severe criticism from Gill on Thursday for skipping the Padma Shri award function with the Sports Minister saying he would soon issue a circular to ensure that sportspersons treated national awards with utmost respect.
The duo were conspicuous by their absence at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where they were expected to accept the Padma Shri awards from President Pratibha Patil.
Even though reports claimed that the duo gave the function a miss because of their commercial pre-occupations, Harbhajan cited family commitment as the reason for his absence.
Gill, however, was not convinced with the absence put forward by the cricketers and said he would tolerate such casualness by anyone.
"To be selected for such a national honour and then getting the opportunity of receiving it from the President of India is a rare good fortune and must be treated with greatest respect. I certainly don't approve of any casualness in anyone's approach," Gill had said.