Sachin Tendulkar is Rajya Sabha MP now
MDT/PTI 04 June 2012

The cricket legend, who has scored record 100 international centuries, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha and today took oath as member of parliament

New Delhi: Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on Monday began a new innings as a member of Parliament. He took oath as member of Rajya Sabha to which he was nominated on 26th April, reports PTI.

39-year-old Tendulkar, who was accompanied by his wife Anjali, took oath in the chamber of Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

"Cricket comes first," Tendulkar said when reporters asked whether he preferred cricket to Parliament. However, he hastened to add that he does not want rumours to swirl that he has stopped playing cricket for Parliament.

"...I am here because of my cricketing career. I cannot take any focus away from my cricket. That is where it all started for me. I will focus on my cricket and as and when I stop playing cricket, I don't know, when I will start attending to other things.

"I don't want rumours to start that I have stopped playing cricket. I will let everyone know when I will stop playing cricket," he said when asked how he would assuage people who raise questions whether he would be able to do justice to the job in Parliament when he is still playing cricket.

There was much excitement in the corridors of Parliament as a large number of officials gathered outside Ansari's chamber where Tendulkar took oath.

A number of Parliament staffers took out their mobile phones to capture a glimpse of the cricketer.

After taking oath, Tendulkar said it was a great honour for him to be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member by the President.

Tendulkar said the Rajya Sabha nomination has put him in better position to help not only cricket but also other sports in the country.

On apprehensions that he would not be able to devote much time to Parliament, Tendulkar made it clear that he was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha and had not sought to be a member.

"See, I am a nominee. So, I didn't go to anyone to say that I want to become a Rajya Sabha member. It is an honour which I accept with full respect but I am here because of my cricketing career," he said.

Asked whether Tendulkar's oath was special, Ansari said, "All oaths are the same. All members are same."

Tendulkar said cricket had given him many things in life during the 22 years he has played the game and he had always dreamt of giving something back to cricket in the latter half of his life.

"Whatever I am today is because of cricket and I strongly believe that. 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. And I will try my best to help other sports," he said.

"But I believe there might be few obstacles along the way and a few challenges along the way. And I need help from my fellow parliamentarians, the administrators, media and our countrymen. I think, together we can make a lot of changes," Tendulkar said.

The cricketer said he would like to be remembered as someone who contributed to all sports in the country and not just by his cricket statistics.

"I would finally like to say that I will be happy if I am remembered as someone who contributed to all sports in India rather than just my cricket statistics. That would be fantastic," Tendulkar said.

Two others, actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga, who were nominated to Rajya Sabha along with Tendulkar, had taken oath last month when the House was in session.

Tendulkar was busy with the Indian Premier League (IPL) season, which ended on 27th May.

He had created history by scoring 100 international centuries in March this year.

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