Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sachin fit for knighthood, says Brown

Cricketing greats from the Commonwealth nations such as Sachin Tendulkar should be considered for traditional British honours like the knighthood, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said. Noting that cricket is one of the great things that binds the Commonwealth together, he said there was a time when top cricketers from the countries in the grouping would be recognised by the British people through its honoured system.

"It used to be the case that great cricketers from the Commonwealth would be recognised by the British people through our honoured system — we think of Sir Don Bradman or Sir Gary Sobers," Brown, who is on an official tour of India, said here yesterday.

He rued that this "function of the empire" has fallen into disrepair now that most of the Commonwealth countries have opted out of the honoured system and have their own honours. "But I believe it was a good tradition to celebrate the achievements of the great Commonwealth cricketers. It shows we are good sports and I would like to see some of the great players of the modern era like Sachin Tendulkar — proposed for honorary awards — so the British nation can salute their achievements in one of our national sports," Brown said. "Obviously, these are issues for the independent honoured committee, but I hope they will consider it," he said. Brown also congratulated India on what he described as their "famous victory" over Australia "so away from home" in the Perth Test match.