Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has said that master batsman Sachin Tendulkar should not play in the Indian Premier League if his name was under consideration for the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna and blamed the IPL for 'ruining' the sport.
"In my view, Sachin Tendulkar should not play in IPL if his name is being considered for the Bharat Ratna," he said.
"When players like Sachin Tendulkar are sold and bought, it really hurts. A player plays for the country and not for companies," the Chief Minister said at a function in Bhopal marking 75 years of the Indian hockey team's victory at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
He also said that Hockey legend Major Dhyanchand deserved to be the first sportsman to given the Bharat Ratna.
Dhyanchand was the first sportsman in whose name a postal stamp was issued, he reminded.
Chouhan promised all help from the Madhya Pradesh government to promote hockey and appealed to senior players to do the same.
Veteran hockey players and Olympians Gurbakhsh Singh, Mukhben Singh, Inamur Rehman, Charles Corneous, Ajit Singh, Ashok Dhyanchand, Virendra Singh, Ashok Diwan, Syed Ali, Harcharan Singh, Mirranjan Negi, Jalaluddin Rizvi, Sujit Kumar and Samir Dad were felicitated at the event.
The senior hockey players presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister, urging him to recommend Major Dhyanchand's name for a posthumous Bharat Ratna.