New Delhi:"So dream...because dreams do come true," said Sachin Tendulkar as he was formally inducted as an Honorary Group Captain of the Indian Air Force in Delhi on Friday.
An in-uniform Sachin said after watching Tom Cruise in Top Gun as a teenager, he took to wearing aviator sunglasses. "I was fond of fighter planes, super bikes. But I had the privilege of getting into a fighter plane in 1996 in South Africa...I have never revealed this before but I was really scared." (Pics: Group Captain Sachin Tendulkar)
The Air Force has conferred the honorary rank on Sachin in recognition of his achievements as an Indian and a cricketer. In June, a formal statement from Rashtrapati Bhawan said, "as the supreme commander of the armed forces of India", President Pratibha Patil had decided to include Sachin "under the provision of grant of honorary rank by armed forces to eminent personalities acknowledging their contribution towards the nation." (Watch)
Tendulkar will function like a brand ambassador, and is expected to inspire many young men and women to join the air force. He is the first sportsperson to be conferred a rank by IAF and the first personality with no aviation background to receive the honour.
In 2008, India's World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev had received the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army.
The Air Force says that in recent months, Tendulkar has been trained in basic military practices and drills.