INDIAN cricket star Sachin Tendulkar has joined the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv and Indira Gandhi as recipients of India's highest civilian honour; the Bharat Ratna.
The award was announced just hours after Tendulkar retired from the game following India's outright victory over the West Indies in the second Test in Mumbai.
He is the first sportsman to win the award and, at 40, the youngest recipient.
Tendulkar (pictured) played in 664 international matches, scoring 34,357 runs and making 100 centuries. He scored almost 2500 more Test runs than the second-placed batsman, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
After the match, Tendulkar paid tribute to his father, who died in 1999.
He also thanked his mother Rajni, who had watched him play in person for the first time at the match.