Ramakant Achrekar, who was credited with shaping the early career of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday, January 2. He was 86. Archrekar had found mentions everytime the great batsman spoke about his career over the years.
Such was the bond between the pupil and teacher, that Archrekar had attended Tendulkar's farewell Test match in November 2013 at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
"He gave us a surprise this time. Generally, he calls and comes. I was planning to make some arrangements and decorations," said Kalpana, the daughter of Ramakant Achrekar.
"Sachin has said that Anjali will come to pick him up for the match. And Sir really wants to be there. If it was not for ill health he would be there for all five days," she added back in the day.
Tendulkar sent a heartfelt note to the media after the news broke:
"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," he said.
"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. 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 added.
We take a look at the life and career of Achrekar, the man who gave Indian cricket its greatest gift in Sachin Tendulkar:
- Born in 1932, the great man was always an astute observer of the game and dabbled into coaching forging young careers ever since he recalled. He was the man responsible for training young career at Mumbai's Shivaji Park in Dadar.
- He founded Kamath Memorial Cricket Club at Shivaji Park which has been responsible for the careers of numerous cricketers in Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, Chandrakant Pandit, Vinod Kambli and Pravin Amre.
- For his commitment to the game, he was honoured with the Dronacharya Award back in 1990. Also, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, which is the country's highest civilian honour in 2010.
- In the same year, he was also honoured with the "Lifetime Achievement" award by the Sports Illustrated by former world cup winning coach Gary Kirsten.