(Image source from: India Today)
Renowned Indian cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar, who trained Sachin Tendulkar and his friend Vinod Kambli, among others, passed away following a heart attack in Mumbai on Wednesday. He was 87.
Achrekar breathed his last at his home in Dadar at around 5 p.m.
He was the recipient of Padma Shri in 2010 and Dronacharya Award in 1990 and likewise instrumental in coaching former Indian international cricketer and a former captain of the Indian national team Tendulkar, Kambli and more than a dozen other top cricket stars in the finer nuances of the game.
"The BCCI expresses is deepest sympathy on the passing of 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 Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a condolence message.
Achrekar commenced playing cricket when he was 11 and in two years was playing Club Cricket with New Hind Sports Club, Mumbai.
He took part in Mumbai Port Trust, Young Maharashtra XI, and in 1963 led the first-class match between Hyderabad and SBI in the Moin-uddin Dowla Tourney.
Eventually, he launched his own cricket training academy, the Kamath Memorial Cricket Club (KMCC) at Shivaji Park, which is believed to be the nursery of Indian cricket.
At that place, he coached and produced some of the biggest names in Indian cricket like Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, Kambli, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe, Chandrakant Pandit and many more, who sent Indian cricket to new heights.
Earlier this year, on Guru Poornima Day, Tendulkar had visited his Guru and sought his blessings.
"Achrekar Sir, all this is possible because of you. Without your guidance, I would not have achieved such great heights," he said later.
He also paid rich tributes to Achrekar on his retirement farewell speech in 2013 and his Guru's contribution was duly highlighted in the biopic, Sachin: A Million Dreams (2017).
Tendulkar as well acknowledged how in his young years, Achrekar Sir would treat him with a "Vada Paav" or "Bhel Puri" as a compliment for playing well on the field.