Mumbai, Nov 16 (ANI): Hours after the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) stood behind Sachin Tendulkar for his 'I am an Indian first' statement, Shiv Sena said that its chief Balasaheb Thackeray has every right to criticize the master blaster.
Earlier in the day, an editorial attributing to Thackeray in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Samna,' asked Sachin to concentrate on cricket and not on politics.
Defending Thackeray in a pres conference here Samna Executive Editor Sanjay Raut said: "The views stated by Balasaheb Thackeray are very clear. We at Shiv Sena also think that country comes first. That is why we always say 'Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra'. But Shiv Sena has every right to speak on the issue of Maharashtra and being Maharashtrian."
"The BCCI should read the whole article. If he does want to, we will send it to him in Marathi. Then he will know realize," Raut added.
He however clarified that the Shiv Sena did not wish to demean Sachin.
"Sachin's father was a great Marathi litterateur and a poet. He also championed many causes of Maharashtrians. But that is a different issue. We are not trying to demean Sachin. Balasaheb Thackeray has great regard for him," Raut said.
Earlier, commenting on the 'Marathi Manoos' issue Sachin had stated that he was proud to be a Maharashtrian but saw himself as "an Indian" first.
Thackeray in his article asked Sachin to concentrate on his batting instead of playing politics, claiming that his comment has hurt the sentiments of the Marathi Manoos.
Meanwhile, commenting on the uproar, former cricketer Kiran More who is also hailing from the state said: "It's very sad that Shiv Sena are involving Sachin in politics. He never meant it that way. I think we should respect Sachin, he has done so much for our country."
More also urged all the parties not to take any political mileage out of it.
"Sachin is a very clean and private person and an ambassador of our country. So just leave him alone. Why to even get into any debate over it? We all agree with what he has said," More added.(ANI)