Mumbai, Oct 30: Former Australia cricketer Adam Gilchrist defended the country's decision to confer Sachin Tendulkar with the Membership of the Order of Australia award saying that the Indian legend has been of great help in developing relations between the two countries.
A couple of days ago, when Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred with Member of the Order of Australia, many Australians commented on the same and raised objections including former Australia cricketer Matthew Hayden.
Hayden slammed the country's move to confer the honour to Sachin Tendulkar, as the honour was given only to citizens of Australia and for people who have contributed to the country and the Indian legendary cricketer had not contributed anything to the country while he had only played in Australia.
Contrary to Hayden, Gilchrist felt the honour was a recognition of the respect Tendulkar receives in Australia as well.
"The discussion around his award and the variety of opinion shows the amazing profile that Tendulkar has. Credit to Sachin to have the place he has held in both the countries. He has forged 22-years of relation between the two countries," Gilchrist told reporters at the University of Wollongong conference on Monday.
"I was able to send him a quick message and was thrilled to receive one back (from him) saying 'welcome to the club', because it was the same honour that I was very fortunate to receive. It (the award) is a mark of respect to a great man," he added.