India coach Gary Kirsten says batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar is the "greatest sporting role model" he's ever met.
"I have played fair amount of cricket with Sachin and it has been a humble privilege to have worked with him and the rest of the Indian team," Kirsten told the mediapersons in Bangalore.
By far the most popular of foreign coaches, Kirsten, who is on the last leg of his tenure as India coach, admitted that he was apprehensive at the beginning when offered the role of coaching India.
"When I got the offer of coaching the Indian team I was little bit nervous and apprehensive as to how I will start the proceedings.
"I still remember in Adelaide [tour of Australia 2007-08], Sachin came up to me and said, 'Can you throw a few balls at me? I said to myself, I need to impress him. I threw from 16-17 yards and he missed a few balls. Next moment, he came to me and said, 'Gary, do you mind going a few yards back?' " Kirsten recollected during the release of journalist Gautam Bhattacharya's book Sach.
"After that, lovely cover drives flowed from Sachin's bat. It was a good learning experience for me. I am fortunate to have had many net sessions with him and play alongside him," added Kirsten, as one could gauge the admiration in the former South African opener's voice.
Kirsten feels that it's his humility towards the game that makes Tendulkar the true champion he is.
"Whenever Sachin comes out to bat he treats his batting with absolute humility."
While the legend himself was present on the occasion of the release of his biography, also present were current India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, and former India captains Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble.
"I have never really got tired of watching Sachin bat. He inspired so many generation of kids," Dravid said.
For Kumble, Sachin is someone who is not just followed by Indians, but also by the entire subcontinent.
"He has touched the lives of more people than anyone in the world. It's been a privilege that I have been a witness to Sachin's achievements. World Cup is one tournament which requires team effort. I wish Sachin, M S (Dhoni) and the rest of the boys in their endeavour to win the Cup," Kumble said.