It's a country which almost gave him a new accent and this "special feeling" for Australia was one of the reasons why Sachin Tendulkar didn't think twice before joining the Bushfire Bash charity game on receiving a call from his former on-field foe Brett Lee. Tendulkar, who will coach the Ricky Ponting XI during Sunday's charity fundraiser match at the Junction Oval here, said the moment he got a call from Lee, it was "no-brainer" that he wanted to join the project.
"I received a message from Brett Lee. Brett said that Kevin (Roberts, Cricket Australia's chief executive) would like to be in touch with you. It was a no-brainer. From the moment I was asked, I said, 'yes I'm more than happy to come here'," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
The batting legend described the devastating bushfires as "catastrophic" and hoped to do his bit for the people of Australia. "This is an alarming situation, it's catastrophic - that's an understatement. You see the number of lives it has affected, not only humans but also wildlife which sometimes people don't talk about. That is equally important," Tendulkar said.
"I'm so happy I'm here in whatever way to support the cause, to raise money."
Talking about his memories from Down Under, Tendulkar said: "Australia has always been dear to me. In 1991, as an 18-year-old I remember coming here (for the first time). I spent almost four months here. I almost had an Aussie accent when I went back to India. "The competitive cricket that I played here at the age of 18 helped me a lot in my career, so I have a special feeling for Australia and Australian people."