The International Cricket Council on Monday announced Sachin Tendulkar as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 ambassador. It will be the second successive time that the India maestro will be the Ambassador of ICC's pinnacle tournament, after he fulfilled the role in the previous event, which was co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka in 2011.
In his role as a World Cup 2015 ambassador, Tendulkar will promote and support a variety of ICC initiatives to enhance the profile of the tournament, which is the third biggest sporting event in the world and will take place in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
Tendulkar retired from international cricket last year after representing his country in 200 Tests, 463 One-Day Internationals and one Twenty20 International. In a career spanning 24 years, the 41-year-old scored a total of 34,357 international runs and 100 centuries.
Tendulkar added the missing World Cup title to his long list of achievements in his sixth attempt in 2011. He is the all-time leading run-getter in World Cup history with 2,278 runs in 45 matches at an average of 56.95. For his 673 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003, he was awarded player of the tournament as India finished runner-up to Australia.
Commenting on his appointment, Tendulkar said: "I am delighted and honoured to be appointed ICC Cricket World Cup Ambassador for the second successive time.
"After playing in the last six editions, the upcoming World Cup will be a different experience as I will follow it from the sidelines. It could probably be comparable to the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 where I was a ball boy, enthusiastically cheering every ball.
"The excitement of the World Cup grows with every new edition and this year's host nations, Australia and New Zealand, are known for their sporting culture, great cricket facilities and knowledgeable crowds. Lifting the World Cup is every international cricketer's quest and the tournament brings out the best of individuals and competing teams.
"The image of the champion team lifting the World Cup inspires many youngsters around the world and gives them a dream to chase - a dream which I fulfilled after 22 years of relentless pursuit by being part of the victorious Indian team in 2011."
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "The ICC is delighted to once again have Sachin as an Ambassador for its biggest and most prestigious tournament. Sachin is not only an inspiration to cricketers but to all sportspeople for his endurance, perseverance, talent, personality and commitment to the game."
The 11th edition of the World Cup kicks off in Christchurch on February 14 when co-hosts New Zealand take on former champion Sri Lanka. On the same day at the picturesque Melbourne Cricket Ground, four-time world champion Australia will square-off against England, which reached the final the last time the event was staged in Australia/New Zealand in 1992.
A total of 49 matches will be played across 14 venues, seven in New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington) and seven in Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney).
The format of the tournament is the same as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, i.e. two groups of seven sides each, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. All the knock-out stage matches will have reserve days.
Apart from the 10 Full Members, four qualifiers - Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates - will take part in the tournament.