Joined by captain M.S. Dhoni and former cricketers Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid in extolling the Little Master's virtues as a human being, India coach Gary Kirsten labelled Sachin Tendulkar as the greatest sporting role model he had ever met.

Kirsten was speaking at a function here on Thursday to release Sach, a book on Tendulkar by cricket writer Gautam Bhattacharya. “What I've experienced over the last three years is not Sachin the cricketer but Sachin the person,” he said. “Even with all the success and adulation, every time he goes out to bat, it is with great humility. He does it in his quiet, soft way. It's a sign of true leadership.”

Bhattacharya, Sports and Entertainment Editor of Ananda Bazar Patrika, said he felt compelled to write the book after having followed Tendulkar's career for the last 23 years. “As contemporary journalists, I believe it is our duty to leave for posterity what we have witnessed.”

Sach attempts to introduce Tendulkar through the eyes of 83 “eminent individuals”, among whom are popular cricketers and actors, and acquaintances of the player. The book, priced at Rs. 395, is available at outlets across the country.

“I still believe I'm watching a fairytale,” the author said. “That is the essence of Sachin Tendulkar.”

Dhoni, who has penned the foreword to the book, said he had not written about cricket. “It is regarding what I've learnt from him over the last five years. Most of it is about life; about him as a human being, a father, and a husband.” The skipper was presented with a copy of the book for the Indian dressing room. — Sports Reporter

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