Tendulkar and his elder brother Ajit have time and again recalled how Achrekar would stand behind trees and watch Tendulkar bat to let him play freely.
Ramakant Achrekar, who was instrumental in giving a jewel to Indian cricket -- Sachin Tendulkar, is no more. Achrekar died in Mumbai at the age of 87 on Wednesday. He belonged to that near extinct tribe of cricket coaches, who gave quintessential talented middle-class boys hope and imparted knowledge that they carried a lifetime.
Tendulkar, who scored 18,426 runs in ODIs and 15,926 runs in Tests, is considered to be one of the greatest players in the modern era. Earlier in the year, Tendulkar had said coaches are like gurus. In 1990, Achrekar was honoured 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 the "Lifetime Achievement" award by the Sports Illustrated by Gary Kirsten.
Ramakant Achrekar and Sachin Tendulkar: The special bonding:
# The picture of Achrekar sporting a half-sleeved cotton shirt, simple trousers and a 'Dev Anand Jewel Thief' cap and perfecting a 14-year-old Tendulkar's forward defence shape at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana, was all about the simple times of '80s.
# Tendulkar and his elder brother Ajit have time and again recalled how Achrekar would stand behind trees and watch Tendulkar bat to let him play freely.
# Achrekar would put0 a one rupee coin over stumps and challenge Tendulkar not to get bowled in order to earn the coin is a part of cricketing folklore. Tendulkar still maintains that those coins are priceless.
One of the major reasons for what I am today! Happy birthday Ramakant Achrekar sir :) Thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/hYV7jbtQ39— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 3, 2016
# Tendulkar once got a "tight slap" for missing a match in order to watch the senior school team play a final match. "People should come to watch you rather you clapping from the stands," Tendulkar recalled Achrekar's words in a story that has been repeated often at various functions.
# The Ramakant Achrekar Foundation gives away scholarships to deserving players. In 2009, Mumbai U-16 captain Harmeet Singh was given a scholarship of Rs 50,000 by Ramakant Achrekar Foundation which was formed by former Ranji player Sharad Thakre.
# Every player, who learnt his ropes at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana during the 80s and early 90s, have their own "Achrekar story" that they recollect with fondness. Ask Chandrakant Pandit, Amol Mujumdar, Praveen Amre, Ajit Agarkar, Lalchand Rajput what a "Guru" meant and how demanding were those times.
# Following his 40th birthday in 2013, Achrekar had given Tendulkar his blessings by saying the Indian batsman would live happily as long as he plays. Speaking on behalf of the 80-year-old Dronacharya award winning coach, who was not keeping well after his hip bone fracture, daughter Kalpana told PTI: "My blessings are always there with him."
#Tendulkar had paid a visit to Achrekar whom he considers his guru ahead of the Australia series, which India won 4-0. "He along with (wife) Anjali had come to meet Baba. They spent some time quietly chatting," she said. Achrekar keenly followed every game that Tendulkar played.
# A lasting memory would be Tendulkar's farewell speech in Mumbai in 2013. "Sir has never ever said 'well played' to me because he thought I would get complacent...Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career because there are no more matches, sir, in my life," a teary-eyed Tendulkar had said after his 200th Test match.
# Tendulkar didn't get that but at the end of his guru's life journey, the batting great did say, "Well played Sir and may you coach more wherever you are."
(With PTI inputs)