Paying rich tributes to retiring batting great Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai Cricket Association president and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Monday described him as the "perfect ambassador" for the sport and a "role model" for youngsters.
"One thing that stands about sachin is his respect for the game and the way he carries himself on the ground. He is the perfect ambassador for the game," Pawar said at the MCA event, where the Kandivali facility was named as Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana to pay a tribute to the veteran.
"There is no doubt that while playing for India he has first established himself as an ambassador for India. He is a perfect role model for the younger generation not only for cricket but sports persons in general. We will miss the chants of Sachin Sachin," he added.
Tendulkar will play his 200th and final Test match at the Wankhede stadium from November 14-18 and the former BCCI and ICC president recollected at being present at Tendulkar's 100th Test match in England.
"In 2002 I was present at oval where sachin played his 100th test match, today we have assembled at the state of art recreational facility created by Mumbai Cricket Association in Kandivili who is preparing to play his 200th test at Wankhede," Pawar said.
He also remembered when the MCA had celebrated Tendulkar's milestone of 10,000 runs in ODIs in 2001 and had named a stand at the Wankhede stadium after him.
"I still remember which we organised in May 2001 to celebrate Sachin reaching the milestone of 10,000 runs in one day international, on that occasion the MCA had decided to name a part of the north stand of Wankhede as Sachin Tendulkar stand," he said.
The NCP chief called Sachin a product of MCA and called him the greatest jewel.
"Sachin like his predecessors is a true product of the MCA, his coach honed his cricket skills by making him play cricket matches on different wickets on the grounds of Mumbai and Sachin values that the most. Sachin has done the Indian cricket proud with his constant achievements in both test and ODIs and has given joy to millions of cricket lovers all over the world," Pawar said.
He praised Tendulkar for conducting himself in a dignified manner both on and off he field.
"In his 24 long years he has never been involved in any controversy on or off the field. He is respected by his colleagues and opponents alike," he said.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan also praised the batting maestro for his hard work and application of mind and hoped that people would follow his footsteps and be inspired by him.