Chandigarh: Matthew Hayden has, in a chat with The Telegraph, admitted that his remarks on Sachin Tendulkar being conferred the Order of Australia were made out of ignorance.
“I didn’t mean to slight Tendulkar, it was nothing personal... Had I known he wasn’t the first foreigner to get the honour, I may not have said what I did,” Hayden told The Telegraph on Saturday afternoon.
Hayden is himself an awardee, for his contribution to cricket and for community work.
After Julia Gillard, who was Australia’s Prime Minister then, made the announcement last October, Hayden went ballistic.
“I think it should be exclusive to Australians. There are things that are sacred... I understand the point that Sachin’s an iconic figure...
“If Sachin was living in Australia, give him the Prime Minister’s gong. But the reality is that he lives in India...”
Asked if he regretted those comments, Hayden responded: “I regret the way they got represented... However, I wasn’t aware then that Tendulkar wasn’t the first foreigner to be conferred the Order of Australia...
“I’d like to repeat that nothing I said was personal, it wasn’t an attack on Tendulkar, who has such a big following in Australia too. It was on principle that I raised the objection.”
Well, Hayden has at least been man enough to admit his remarks were out of ignorance.
Legal luminary Soli Sorabjee is the only other Indian to have been conferred the Order of Australia.