Australian PM salutes Tendulkar

Australian PM salutes Tendulkar

"I congratulate Sachin Tendulkar on achieving the outstanding milestone of 17,000 One Day International runs," Rudd said while addressing an India Business Lunch in the capital.

Incidentally, Tendulkar reached the milestone during the just-concluded ODI series against Australia.

Rudd conveyed the respect Tendulkar commands in Australia and said, "From one cricket mad nation to another, we salute the 'Little Master'." "I'm advised his young teammate Yuvraj Singh has started calling the 36-year-old 'grandfather', where that places 52-year-old like me, I'm not sure," Rudd quipped.

"And may I say on behalf of all Australian cricket fans that if Sachin does decide it is time to retire, we would support him wholeheartedly," he said, tongue-in-cheek.

"Of course there is more to life than cricket," Rudd added as the gathering burst into laughter. The Australian Prime Minister said he would have loved to be in Mumbai yesterday for the seventh and final India-Australia ODI which was washed out.  Rudd said India and Australia were similar in their love for cricket and also shared his dabble with the game.

"You will be surprised to learn that I have played against India a member of the Australian embassy team in Beijing against the Indian embassy team. My highest score was 11 not out," he said. Australian Pime Ministers have traditionally been cricket lovers.

Rudd's predecessor John Howard was a self-confessed "cricket-tragic", while Bob Hawke actually did commentary during a 1988 Australia-West Indies Test at Perth. While 12th Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies was also a cricket enthusiast, their first PM Edmund Barton had in fact umpired in a 1879 game between New South Wales and an English side at the Sydney Cricket Ground.