Sachin Tendulkar was invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be part of his official delegation for the Australia tour later this month, but the cricket icon has expressed his inability to make the trip due to prior commitments.
According to sources, the Prime Minister's Office reached out to Tendulkar, also a Rajya Sabha member, when he was in London for the launch of his autobiography, Playing It My Way, but he had to decline the invitation as he would be in Andhra Pradesh at that time.
"He (Tendulkar) had already committed to be in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh for adoption of Puttamraju Kandriga in Nernuru Panchayat in Gudur mandal for Adarsh Gram Yojana during the period apart from other commitments," the source said.
In October, Tendulkar was in Australia and inducted as one of the latest honourees to the Bradman Foundation.
The legendary cricketer, a brand ambassador of Indian Air Force, on Wednesday honoured two CISF personnel just before the Indian Super League football match between his team, Kerala Blasters, and Mumbai City FC in Kochi.
He paid glowing tributes to the 'discipline, dedication and selfless approach' of the country’s defence forces.
In what seems to be smart cricket diplomacy, Prime Minister Modi has roped in former captains Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to be part of his official delegation to three Australian cities -- Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
The Prime Minister will be in Australia for the G-20 summit and also visit the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which will host the 2015 World Cup final.
The Indian cricket team will also leave for Australia later this month to play four Tests, starting December 4.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Photograph: Courtesy: Narendra Modi/Facebook