Celebrated cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar no more

Celebrated cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar – who discovered the talent of cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar and shaped him up for international matches, passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday.

He was 87.

Achrekar was ailing for some time with age-related issues - and passed away at his Mumbai residence. 

"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," Tendulkar told a news agency. 

Tendukar started training under Achrekar Sir, as he was popularly known, at the age of 11. 

Besides Tendulkar, a recipient of Bharat Ratna, he has trained cricketers like Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Ajit Agarkar, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Samir Dighe, Chandrakant Pandit, Amol Mazumdar, Romesh Pawar, Lalchand Rajput among others – in the famous Shivaji Park of Dadar in Mumbai.

"My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother took me to Achrekar Sir,” Tendulkar had said in his farewell speech at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India condoled the death of the veteran coach.

“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,” the BCCI said in a tweet.

Achrekar competed in just one first-class match in his playing career – but he had a eye for talent and Sachin was one of them.

In 2010, he was conferred with Padma Shri, one of the civilian honours of the country.

"(Achrekar) Sir was strict at times, extremely strict and also caring and loving. Sir did not say well-played to me ever, (but) I knew (when) Sir has taken me to have bhelpuri or paani-puri, Sir is happy, I have done something nice on the field," Tendulkar had stated at a function on his guru, last year. 

“My heartfelt condolences on the passing away of #RamakantAchrekar Sir , who was instrumental in giving a jewel to Indian cricket,” stylish batsman VVS Laxman said. 

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