Well-known cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar, man behind Sachin Tendulkar, has died aged 87. He breathed his last at his Mumbai residence at 6.30 PM. Achrekar was born in 1932 and played a key role in shaping up Tendulkar’s career over the years. Achrekar coached many young players at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park in Dadar. His most famous pupil, Tendulkar, went on to become the greatest batsman in the history of the game.
Commenting on Achrekar’s death, Tendulkar said in a statement: “Cricket in heaven will be enriched with the presence of Achrekar sir. Like many of his students, I learnt my ABCD of cricket under Sir’s guidance. His contribution to my life cannot be captured in words. He built the foundation that I stand on. Last month, I met Sir along with some of his students and spent some time together. We shared a laugh as we remembered the old times,” said the ‘Master Blaster’.
“Achrekar sir taught us the virtues of playing straight and living straight. Thank you for making us a part of your life and enriching us with your coaching manual. Well played Sir and may you coach more wherever you are,” he went on to add.
Every year on Teacher’s Day, Tendulkar would go meet his coach and pay his respects. In 1990, Achrekar was conferred with the Dronacharya Award for Outstanding coaches in Sports and Games. He was honoured with one of the country’s highest civilian award the Padma Shri in 2010. In the same year, he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Sports Illustrated magazine.
Besides Tendulkar, Achrekar also coached the likes of Vinod Kambli and Ajit Agarkar who played over 100 games for India. Other pupils included Chandrakant Pandit, Sanjay Bangar, Pravin Amre and Ramesh Powar who achieved success as coaches.
You’ll always be in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/0UIJemo5oM
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) January 2, 2019
The BCCI expresses its deepest sympathy on the passing of Dronacharya award-winning guru Shri Ramakant Achrekar. Not only did he produce great cricketers, but also trained them to be fine human beings. His contribution to Indian Cricket has been immense. pic.twitter.com/mK0nQODo6b
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 2, 2019
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) January 2, 2019
Sad to know that Ramakant Achrekar sir is no more. My homage to the great soul and condolences to the family. #Achrekarsir
— R P Singh (@rpsingh) January 2, 2019
Sad to hear about the passing of Achrekar Sir. Man who instilled grit & discipline in Mumbai cricket 🏏
Tendulkar who made his debut in 1989, became the first man to score 100 international hundreds and an ODI double hundred. He is also the only cricketer to play 200 Test matches. Tendulkar, who scored 34357 runs, the most by any batsman, owed his success to Achrekar, who he considered to be his guru.
Last year on Teacher’s Day, Tendulkar revealed how he was disciplined by Achrekar and how it helped keep his career on the right path. Tendulkar was a prankster and admitted he needed constant monitoring. He recalled an incident where his revered coach scolded him in front of quite a few people at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. “Back in my school days, I used to play only for the junior team and our senior team was playing the Harris Shield finals at the Wankhede Stadium,” Tendulkar said in a video posted as a tribute to Achrekar on Teachers’ Day.
“And our coach Ramakant Achrekar sir had organised a practice match for me. He had told me to go there after school and bat at number four. He said he had spoken to the captain and you would not need to field. That used to be my training. That was important because you needed to figure out your game there and figure out how to score runs in the middle.”