Eulogies for Ramakant Achrekar, the celebrated cricket coach credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar, have been pouring in from all quarters, not just the cricket fraternity but also Prime Minister Narendra Modi, authors and Bollywood actors. Uday Kotak, Executive Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank, also took to Twitter yesterday to pay tribute.
"Fond memories of him teaching batting technique and a smack with the stump on my butt for dropping a catch during fielding practice," Kotak tweeted, adding, "I miss playing cricket after a ball broke my head! Rest in peace my cricket guru."
Eighty seven-year-old Achrekar died on Wednesday, after battling old age-related ailments for the past few days. The Padma Shri and Dronacharya Awardee had also coached other leading players such as Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
My cricket coach in school Ramakant Achrekar passes away. Fond memories of him teaching batting technique and a smack with the stump on my butt for dropping a catch during fielding practice. I miss playing cricket after a ball broke my head! Rest in peace my cricket guru.- Uday Kotak (@udaykotak) January 2, 2019
In an emotional statement, Tendulkar said that Achrekar's contribution to his life and career cannot be captured in words and that the coach "built the foundation" he stands on. "Cricket in heaven will be enriched with the presence of Achrekar sir. Like many of his students, I learned my ABCD of cricket under Sir's guidance," said the cricketer. "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."
Noted Indian historian and author Ramachandra Guha's tweet evoked nostalgia. "My favourite Achrekar memory/story is of the 1993 Mumbai Test. After Kambli got a double hundred and Tendulkar and Amre got fifties, placards were displayed in the Wankhede Stadium reading SHARDASHRAM vs ENGLAND," he tweeted. For the uninitiated, Shardashram Vidyapeeth is a high school in Mumbai that counts all the above cricketing legends among its alumni.
"Shri Ramakant Achrekar Ji was a shining beacon of the Guru Parampara. An outstanding mentor, he groomed cricketing talent for years and the gems he trained went on to bring immense glory to the nation. His passing away is a big loss to the sporting world. My condolences," read the tweet from the Prime Minister's Office.
With PTI inputs