Having achieved the unique distinction of scoring the first double century in One-day internationals, Sachin Tendulkar is now on the threshold of becoming the first sportsperson to be conferred the Bharat Ratna.
The Maharashtra government is all set to recommend the batting maestro for India's highest civilian award.
"The state would be recommending Sachin Tendulkar's name for the prestigious Bharat Ratna," Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan told rediff.com on Friday.
If the recommendation is accepted by the central government, the Mumbai cricketer will be in the elite company of other Maharashtrians, namely scholar P V Kane, social reformer Vinobha Bhave (posthumous), B R Ambedkar (posthumous), J R D Tata and melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, who were conferred the award.
The 37-year-old Tendulkar's achievements as a cricketer are so voluminous that they could fill an encyclopedia. He has played 442 One-day Internationals, scoring 17,598 runs, at an average of 45.12 and strike rate of 86.25, inclusive of 46 hundreds and 93 fifties.
On the Test front, in 166 matches, he has the highest Test aggregate of 13,447 runs, which includes 47 centuries and a highest score of 248.
The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government of Maharashtra's decision to recommend Tendulkar for the Bharat Ratna apparently has political overtones, as the Shiv Sena has been critical of the icon because of his stand on Mumbai being a city for everybody.
Meanwhile, the state is also planning a museum to honour Tendulkar. Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal replied in the affirmative to rediff.com, confirming that there is indeed a plan to set up one.