Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography 'Playing It My Way' was officially launched in Mumbai on Wednesday in a glittering ceremony. The much-anticipated book will be up for sale from Thursday, November 6.
Earlier, Tendulkar had given the first copy of the book to his mother Rajni. Sachin's brother Ajit and wife Anjali accompanied him to the launch and revealed several interesting stories from the past.
"I was at the airport to receive my mother when I first saw Sachin. I thought he was very cute and chased him. He seemed embarrassed by it all. He was 17 back then.," Anjali said.
Former India captains Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Dilip Vengsarkar were also present for the launch and recounted their initial experiences with Tendulkar as he began his cricketing journey on the 'maidans' of Mumbai. Shastri recalled how Tendulkar transformed from a "fish-out-of-water" during his first innings to a "white shark" after a month, when the tour of Pakistan was over. (Tendulkar's Career Would Have Been Incomplete Without World Cup: Akram)
The highlight of the evening was a discussion among the 'Class of 1996' as Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Tendulkar took the stage.
A friendly banter between Tendulkar and Ganguly and the jokes on Sachin's sleepwalking left the crowd in splits. However, like everyone else, Ganguly reiterated how much Tendulkar loved to bat and how he would keep practicing late on match eves.
Dravid and Tendulkar spoke candidly of the Multan controversy, where the former as skipper for the first Test against Pakistan in 2004, had declared the innings with the Master Blaster on 194.
Dravid said there were differences at times during their career. "When you play 16 years together, there will be moments when you agree to disagree. The ultimate goal is to win a Test match and we both agreed," said Dravid.
"What matters is that Rahul and I continue to be good friends today. Every cricketer at some point of time has had some differences with each other," Tendulkar said.
Laxman spoke of his two favourite Tendulkar innings - the 241 not out vs Australia at the SCG in 2004 and the 136 vs Pakistan in Chennai in 1999.
In his autobiography, Tendulkar has claimed that former India coach Greg Chappell visited his house and tried to convince him to take over the captaincy from Dravid. At the launch on Wednesday, Tendulkar reiterated the "unhealthy environment" that prevailed in the Indian dressing-room under Chappell.
However, Chappell rubbished the claims and said he enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at Tendulkar's home and the captaincy issue never came up for discussion.
Specifically, Tendulkar writes in his book that Chappell did not have any respect for Dravid as captain. "Together, we could control Indian cricket for years", the Australian told Tendulkar during a visit to his home when he offered to "help me in taking over the reins of the side" from Dravid, the master batsman writes in his autobiography. "I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket's biggest tournament (2007 World Cup) just months away", Tendulkar writes.