Sachin Tendulkar has been named as the most influential person in Indian sports in the annual Sports Illustrated Power list.
The top 50 rates Tendulkar as the number one influencer in India, followed closely by IPL Chairman Lalit Modi at second spot and liquor baron Dr Vijay Mallya in third.
Union Agriculture Minister and President elect, ICC Sharad Pawar, Indian cricket team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and BCCI president Shashank Manohar are fourth, fifth and sixth on the list respectively.
Some of the names in 50 most influential people in Indian sports including Tendulkar, tennis ace Sania Mirza (50th on the list), Beijing Olympics gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra (41st), Churchill Brothers Team owner Churchill Alemao (48th), Dempo Sports Team owner Shrinivas Dempo (49) were felicitated during a function.
“I wanted to play cricket whole-heartedly for the country. I am living my dream and have played with two-three generations. I wanted to be a special member of the team and I have done it,” Tendulkar said on the occasion.
Tendulkar added he was still receiving congratulatory messages for becoming first batsman in the history of One-day cricket to score a double hundred and that he was enjoying the good time.
“It has taken many years for a batsman to get a double-hundred (in ODIs). I am still getting great feedback.
“It feels terrific,” he said.
Asked how he kept himself composed even after becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal in Olympics, Bindra said, “I have waited for it for the last 16 years.”
Meanwhile, Sania, who had recently sustained a wrist injury said she was on the way to recovery and was preparing for the Commonwealth games.
“I am recovering from the injury. Should be back in a couple of weeks.”
As a special gesture, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta (the most powerful woman at 23 on the list) was presented with a diamond studded cricket ball.