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Sachin Tendulkar unveils his autobiography Playing it My Way

Last updated on: November 06, 2014 00:32 IST

Sachin Tendulkar at the launch of his autobiography in Mumbai. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Sachin Tendulkar's much-awaited autobiography, Playing It My Way, was launched in the presence of some of his former teammates, celebrities and family members at an engrossing function on Wednesday.

The book, the first copy of which he presented to his mother, Rajni, earlier in the day, was unveiled by Tendulkar himself amid thunderous applause from the gathering. 

At the launch, Tendulkar presented a copy to his mentor and childhood coach, Ramakant Achrekar, in the presence of his daughter, Sara. 

"I would like to present the first copy after launch to somebody very special in my life, Tendulkar said before handing over a copy of the book to a wheelchair-bound Achrekar.

Sachin Tendulkar officially unveils his autobiography in Mumbai. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Before the launch of the book, cricket analyst and host for the evening Harsha Bhogle had three panel discussion sessions with Tendulkar's former teammates and family, who significantly feature in the book. 

The first panel discussion was attended by former India captains Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri and former Mumbai cricketer Vasu Paranjape, who played a crucial role in shaping Tendulkar's career. 

Gavaskar remembered how he met Tendulkar for the first time and was impressed by his talent at the first look.

"Hemant Waingankar and Anil Joshi introduced me to Sachin and asked me to see him bat. Probably, I had finished my cricket at that stage. He was batting at the Wankhede nets against Raju Kulkarni, who was a very slippery customer. In the nets you don't really think about no-balls and Raju was doing the same. But the manner in which Sachin was punching the ball off the back-foot towards mid-off and mid-on impressed me," Gavaskar recollected. 

Asked what if he would got a chance to bat alongside Tendulkar, Gavaskar replied: "I think, as far as running between the wickets, we would have been very good."

Sachin Tendulkar (right) with former teammates (from left to right) Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman at the launch. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Former Mumbai and India skipper Vengsarkar said he handpicked Tendulkar to play for the team after watching him easily negotiating India's best fast bowler at the time, Kapil Dev, in the Wankhede Stadium nets, where the Indian team had come to play against the touring New Zealand team. 

"I was the captain (of Mumbai) that time and I heard a lot about him. Vasu (Paranjape) brought him and introduced him to me. Vasu said you should go and watch Sachin play. I said not now, but Vasu said 'no, no you should go'," Vengsarkar said. 

"I was playing my 100th Test and we were practicing at the CCI. I asked Kapil, Maninder (Singh) to bowl at him and at such a tender age he played them with ease. Then I told the  (Mumbai) selectors we should pick him at least in the 15 but in the next three days he didn't come for practice. I was a bit livid with him. I told Vasu to ask him the reason and he said I had an exam."

Sachin Tendulkar speaks to the media at the launch of his autobiography in Mumbai. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Shastri, who watched Tendulkar from close quarters during the master batsman's classic 148 not out at Sydney in 1992, said, according to him, that innings was the best of his career. 

"In the tour of Pakistan in 1989, Sachin made his debut but got out early. I was lying down in the dressing room and was livid with my dismissal. He took his time and walked up to me after an hour. By the time I calmed down and and he said to me 'I was in a hurry'. 

"(During that innings) the time he was at the crease he looked like a fish out of water, but a month later he looked a big shark in the water and continued to be so for the next 25 years," he said. 

Talking about Tendulkar's epic 148 not out at the Sydney Cricket Ground, his first and one of the best on Australian soil, Shastri, who was batting alongside the master blaster, said: "I was just 22 yards away and it was the best place to witness such a wonderful innings.

"I was witnessing someone just 18 who was to become the first overseas player to score a 100 in Australia. Tendulkar's Sydney innings was strokeplay of the highest order."

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