Tendulkar has date with 'himself' - courtesy Madame Tussauds

Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) It was another record but of a different kind for master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Madame Tussauds flew the cricketer's wax figure some 7,000 km to meet the legend in person here Monday and made him the first Indian sportsman to be featured by the London-headquartered studio.

And Tendulkar was truly delighted, coming face to face with the likeness of his wax figure at the downtown Taj Lands End Hotel.

"I am very impressed with the figure and delighted to be honoured by Madame Tussauds," said the renowned cricketer, who holds several records to his name, including the batsman with the highest number of Test centuries.

"It is the first time we have ever launched a figure overseas. But we really wanted Sachin to see his likeness before it 'meets' the public," said Liz Edwards of Madame Tussauds, London.

"The figure will now be returning to London to join the ranks of sporting greats past and present in our sports zone. There will also be a cricketing challenge around the figure where guests can test their skills against the master-blaster'," she said.

"We know it will be a huge hit with fans."

Tendulkar had met the sculptors of Madame Tussauds here earlier in the year to be measured and photographed for the creation of his figure. He also donated the cricket whites that his striking wax double is wearing.

The cricketer follows in the footsteps of Bollywood giants Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, who have been honoured by Madame Tussauds.

According to the London-based firm, Tendulkar's figure was created at their studios in west London over a three-month period, starting with a a perfect clay sculpture from which the moulds are made for an amazingly life-like wax figure.

Then it was over to a team of skilled hair and colour artists to insert the hair by hand and to build life-like skin tones using layer upon layer of oil paint - every freckle, mole, dimple and wrinkle are accurately reproduced, the firm said.

"London and India share a great passion for cricket and we are delighted that Madame Tussauds has unveiled a figure of Sachin Tendulkar," said Sally Chatterjee, the interim chief executive of Visit London, the agency that promotes tourism to the British capital.

"With the International Cricket Council's World Twenty20 coming to London this June more cricket fans will have the opportunity to come face to face with one of their sporting heroes."

Madame Tussauds, which has its attractions in London, New York, Las Vegas, Washington, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hong Kong and Shanghai, has been making wax figures for over 150 years.

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