Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sachin the gentleman, now an IAF officer

Sachin Tendulkar is going to fly high quite literally and give Top Gun a new meaning. The master blaster is soon to become an officer of the Indian Air Force with the Air Headquarters having finalised plans to make him an honorary Group Captain and the President having given her nod for the same on Wednesday.

It's the first time a cricketer will get this honour. There was considerable debate as to what rank the great batsman should be given. Wing Commander and Squadron Leader were deemed too junior for the national icon, who has 20 years of top class cricket under his belt.

In 2008, India's World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev had received the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army.

Till now 21 eminent persons have been granted honorary ranks by the IAF. The first person was Raja of Jawhar, Raja Yashwant Rao who was conferred Flight Lieutenant rank in 1944.

JRD Tata was made an honorary Air Vice Marshal in 1974 and the last one to get such an honour was another industrialist-cum-aviator Vijaypat Singhania who was made an honorary Air Commodore in 1990.

Tendulkar is the first sportsperson to be conferred this honour. He is also the first person with no aviation background to have got this honour.

Tendulkar is arguably the best batsman in the history of cricket, having amassed some 31,000-plus runs in Test and ODI cricket with a staggering 93 international centuries under his belt.

The 37-year-old is hailed as perhaps the most complete batsman in the history of the game with no real chink in his armour. He is not only the highest run-getter in both Test and ODI versions of the game but also the only player to have scored a double century in 50-over format.

One of India's most decorated sportspersons, Tendulkar has won the country's highest sports honour..the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan award. 

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