Recently retired Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has become a UNICEF ambassador for South Asia, and will support their work promoting hygiene and sanitation.
Following a signing ceremony in his home city of Mumbai, Tendulkar, lauded by many as the greatest batsman to have ever played the game, said:
"I humbly accept the responsibility of being an Ambassador for UNICEF in South Asia. I look forward to working with children and communities in the region, urging them to use toilets and wash their hands.
"Following simple practices can contribute to a hygienic lifestyle which is important for the good health of children and women across the world."
South Asia is the region with the second highest number of under-five deaths - 2.3 million in 2011, and in this region 39 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted while more than 680 million in South Asia don't use toilets.
Sanitation has strong connections with personal hygiene, human dignity, wellbeing, public health, nutrition and education and it is children under the age of five who are the most vulnerable to the effects of poor sanitation.
More than half a million such young South Asians die each year of diarrhoea caused by unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor hygiene.
"When playing cricket, Sachin Tendulkar had the unique power to reach everybody in all corners of South Asia and the world," Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia said.
"Now Sachin will do the same and lend his voice to reach everybody in all villages and communities in South Asia with hygiene and sanitation messages.
"Using a toilet and hand washing with soap means healthy lives with dignity and helps all children to thrive."
© Cricket World 2013