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Group Captain Sachin seeks Sukhoi-30 experience

cricket Updated: Sep 04, 2010 02:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Sachin Tendulkar may be fearless on the cricket pitch but flying on fighter planes scares him.

However, the batting legend is set to conquer his fears in his new role as an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer.

The group captain rank - equivalent to a colonel in the army - was conferred on him on Friday in recognition of his achievements as an Indian and a cricketer.

Tendulkar is the first sportsperson to be conferred a rank by IAF. In 2008, India's World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev had received the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army.

Tendulkar revealed how scared he was when he first flew on a fighter plane.

"I had the privilege of getting into an Impala fighter plane in 1996 in South Africa. I have never spoken about this before but I was really scared when they were briefing me about ejection procedures. I thought I would eject out of the plane with broken elbows," said Tendulkar, looking dapper in his IAF uniform.

Tendulkar said as a teenager he was fascinated by Tom Cruise in his role as a fighter pilot in the Hollywood blockbuster, Top Gun. But he added that the closest he came to copying Cruise was wearing aviator sunglasses. "I would really want to fly in a Sukhoi-30 and understand how tough it is for our fighter pilots," he said.

The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Naik said the IAF too was looking forward to putting Tendulkar on his favourite plane. "We will then pin wings on his uniform," said and hoped that the icon's appointment as IAF officer would inspire India's youth to join the service.

Tendulkar said: "I want to urge the youth of India to join the IAF as it is one of the best ways to serve the country. Chase your dreams because dreams do come true."