Thatscricket - Wish your star

Published: Saturday, June 29, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: India's master batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, has signed a contract with London-based television network ESPN-Star Sports to become a TV presenter, ESPN said on its website on Saturday.

Though ESPN said the contract fee was a 'commercial secret', an Indian English daily, quoting unidentified sources, said the deal was worth Rupees 120 million ($ 2.5 million). Tendulkar's exclusive contract to 'front the television channel' is comparable to the multi-million dollar tie-up between United States' ace golfer Tiger Woods and Disney, another English daily said. Manu Sawhney, managing director of ESPN Software India, told the 'Times of India' that Tendulkar would launch his career as TV presenter within a year. The batsman's TV debut would be seen in nearly 50 countries, including throughout South Asia and the Gulf region, Sawhney said. ESPN-Star currently reaches around 28 million Indian households. The ESPN-Star Sports Website quoted Tendulkar as saying that he was 'looking forward' to his partnership with the sports channel. Tendulkar, who renewed a five- year contract with WorldTel last year, worth approximately $ 20 million, currently endorses Adidas, Visa, Pepsi, Fiat and a number of Indian brands. WorldTel manages players and also telecasts live cricket matches in India and internationally. Tendulkar is currently in England with the Indian team, which is facing England and Sri Lanka in a triangular One-day series before playing the first of four Tests at Lord's on July 25. Known in India as 'the Little Genius', Tendulkar in the recent series against the West Indies equalled Australia great Don Bradman's record of 29 Test hundreds but then went on to make three ducks in his next four innings. This week he was among six players nominated by their peers for the International Cricketer-of-the-Year award.

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