'I cannot take any focus away from my cricket'
Cricket ace Sachin Tendulkar, who was sworn in as member of the Rajya Sabha on Monday, insisted that his focus will still be on the game and nothing else for the moment.
In fact, he was quick to declare that he does not want rumours doing the rounds that he has given up playing the game he has so graced for the last 23 years.
"...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 will tackle questions whether he will be able to do justice his duties in Parliament when he is still playing cricket.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar (left) signs the oath book as India's Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Narayanasamy watches during the swearing-in ceremony
'Cricket comes first'
Earlier, the 39-year-old master batsman took oath as member of the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Chairman Hamid Ansari and Union ministers Rajiv Shukla, Harish Rawat and V Narayanasamy.
Tendulkar, film actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga were nominated as members of the Rajya Sabha by President of India Pratibha Patil on April 26.
"Cricket comes first," Tendulkar told reporters, as he and wife Anjali were chaperoned by Shukla to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari's chamber.
'It is an honour which I accept with full respect'
There was much excitement in the corridors of Parliament as a large number of officials gathered outside Ansari's chamber, where Tendulkar took the oath.
A number of Parliament staffers took out their mobile phones to capture a glimpse of the cricketer.
After take oath, Tendulkar said it was a great honour for him to be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member by the President.
He said the Rajya Sabha nomination has put him in a better position to help not only cricket but other sports as well 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.
"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.
'I need help from my fellow-parliamentarians'
Asked whether Tendulkar's oath was special, Ansari said, "All oaths are the same. All members are same."
Tendulkar said cricket has given him many things in life during the 22 years he has played the game and he always dreamed 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.
Tendulkar wants to be remembered as someone who contributed to all sports
He 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."