Gilchrist supports Sachin

Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on Monday came out in support of Sachin Tendulkar being conferred the Membership of the Order of Australia, saying that the senior Indian batsman has helped in forging relations between the two countries. Gilchrist's former opening partner Matthew Hayden was upset at Tendulkar getting the award and had said that the honour should be exclusive to his countrymen. But, Gilchrist felt the honour was recognition of the respect Tendulkar receives in Australia also.

"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.

"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. Gilchrist also praised Tendulkar for deciding to play in the Ranji Trophy, saying that it showed the senior batsman's commitment to the game.

"I read he is playing a Ranji trophy match this week, his first one in three or four years. The fact that he wants to go and take that as preparation, with a serious Test series coming up is a testament to his professionalism and commitment to the game," he said. Asked about Tendulkar's recent form, the retired Australian great said, "A few times in 22 years, there's going to be some trough. I am not saying he is in a trough or not. I am not sure, where he places himself well enough. He has been in that 22 years, we were asked has he reached his peak. "I am sure he himself doesn't feel he is at the peak of his career. I have got no doubt that his desire and appetite for success remains," said Gilchrist. On the upcoming India-England series, the 40-year-old left-hander said it will be a closely-contested series between two good teams.

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