Defending Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians on Thursday named batting great Sachin Tendulkar as their "icon" ahead of the seventh Indian Premier League beginning in the UAE on April 16. (Read: Sachin Tendulkar adorns cover of 2014 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack | Wisden picks Shikhar Dhawan among its five Cricketers of the Year)
"We are very happy to have Sachin as the Mumbai Indians icon. I am sure the youngsters in the team will be delighted to have him around for guidance, and so would be the Mumbai Indians fans," team owner Nita Ambani said in a statement.
Tendulkar was the icon player of the Mumbai Indians since the first edition in 2008 before he went on to win the title during his last IPL in 2013.
"Sachin has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians and a source of inspiration for the team ever since the inception. It was a fitting finale to Sachin last season, when we dedicated the IPL as well as Champions League T20 trophies as tribute to the legend," Ambani added.
The feeling is no different for the batting great too.
"I have been a part of the Mumbai Indians team since its inception and am delighted to continue my association. This season with Mumbai Indians will be a different experience for me and I look forward to closely interacting with the experienced support staff and sharing my learnings with the exciting youngsters in the team," said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar also expressed his desire to be a part of the Mumbai Indians' 'Education For All' initiative.
Led by Nita Ambani, 'Education For All' stands for equal and rightful education opportunities for the underprivileged children and has been able to meaningfully impact over 30,000 such kids from various NGOs.
"Mumbai Indians was one of the first teams to recognize the potential of using its worldwide fan base to enhance awareness about a compelling social issue. 'Education for All' is an initiative which has been personally nurtured by Nita Ambani and each one of us at Mumbai Indians is a passionate believer in this initiative," said Tendulkar.
"I am committed to working with the team at Mumbai Indians in spreading the message of 'Education for All' across the country and beyond," Tendulkar added.