Mumbai:Sachin Tendulkar confessed he was lost for words when he first saw his life-like wax replica prepared by the world famous Madame Tussauds of London that he unveiled at a city hotel close to his residence here on Monday.
Terming it a great honour and reflection of his contribution to Indian cricket that his wax figure would be adorning Madame Tussauds iconic museum, Tendulkar gushed about the attention to details that has gone into producing it.
"It's something special. I have never reacted to anything like this in my life. It's difficult to express in words what is very close to something identical. I'm glad it does not breath. The detailing is so much," the champion batsman said after unveiling his own wax replica.
"It is a great honour to be there at the Tussauds. I know I am the first sportsperson of the country to be there. I think it is an appreciation and a reflection of my contribution to Indian cricket," he said.
Tendulkar said he was spellbound after seeing the statue which will be inaugurated at the Tussauds on April 24, his birthday.
"(My son) Arjun wanted to take down the bat and start playing but I told him not to get very close. It's fabulous, fantastic," he said in awe.
Tendulkar explained that the wax statue was prepared with the pose that he adopted -- with his bat in the right hand, his left holding the helmet and both hands raised skywards --after surpassing West Indian great Brian Lara as the world's most run-getter in Tests at Mohali against Australia last year.
"That was my pose after I crossed the record," he pointed out.
The ace batsman also said he was very proud to be the first Indian sportsperson so honoured by the iconic wax museum and it did not matter at which place his life-like figure is placed at Madame Tussauds later this month, but said he would be busy when it's done playing in IPL in South Africa.
"I'm proud to be the first Indian sportsman to be honoured thus. It does not matter where I'm placed. It's a huge honour to be part of the wax museum. The fact that it will be there itself is a great honour. There are so many great personalities there including Indians," he said.
"I would not be able to go there (for the occasion) as I would be busy playing the IPL in South Africa. But I will go there after the IPL (gets over)," Tendulkar said.
The champion batsman said due to his busy schedule he was unable to go to Madame Tussauds after his first visit to London as a 15-year-old member of the Star Cricket Club managed by former Rajasthan pacer Kailash Gattani.
"But my family members have seen it," he said.
Tendulkar said his wax replica at Madame Tussauds would be among the birthday gifts he would be cherishing the most in his life.
"I have got many birthday gifts that I have cherished. They include birthday greetings from my children and the moments I have spent with my family and friends. On April 24, 1998 we defeated Australia in Sharjah and we won the tournament (Sharjah Cup) which is another birthday gift I cherish," he said.
Asked if he felt authorities at Tussauds should have done it earlier, Tendulkar said, "I am not the person to decide whether my statue should have been one or two year before or this year. I am happy that I will be there now. It is a happy moment.
"Such offers are rare and don't come often in one's life," he added.
After refusing to be drawn into anything unrelated to the function, Tendulkar revealed at the fag end of the interaction with the media a bit about his future plans when asked whether any of his dreams have remained unfulfilled.
"For every cricketer it's a dream to win the World Cup. As a youngster this was my dream. I want to win the World Cup for my country," said the champion batsman in, perhaps, his first clear-cut indication that he wants to continue playing till the 2011 World Cup to be held in the sub-continent.
Madame Tussauds official spokesperson Edwards gave more details about Tendulkar's wax replica, saying it cost 150,000 pound and involved 20 artisans to work on it over a three-month period.
Tendulkar met with Madame Tussauds sculptors in Mumbai earlier this year to be measured and photographed for the creation of his figure and donated the cricket whites that the wax double is wearing.
Saying it was the first time the wax museum had launched a figure overseas, Edwards said the figure would be returning to join the ranks of sporting greats like footballer David Beckham and retired Australia spin legend Shane Warne.
"There will also be a cricketing challenge around the figure where guests can test their skills against the master blaster and we know it will be a huge hit with fans," she said.