Ramakant Achrekar, the coach who channeled Sachin Tendulkar’s cricketing pursuits by turning him from an aspiring fast bowler to a world-beating batsman, has died in Mumbai at the age of 86.
Paralysed since the late 1990s, Achrekar had been unwell for a while and was under increased medical supervision since suffering a stroke in 2013.
Achrekar’s academy in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park area churned out several others who played for India, including Vinod Kambli, Praveen Amre, Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar.
It was Achrekar who suggested to a 11-year old Tendulkar that he switch schools – from Bandra’s New English School to Sharadashram Vidya Mandir – to better his cricketing prospects.
As a player, Achrekar started his journey in club cricket in 1945, represented New Hind Sports Club and Young Maharashtra XI. He continued his pursuits later for Gul Mohar Mills and Bombay Port. He featured in a solitary first-class game for State Bank of India against a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI in a Moin-ud-Dowlah Gold Cup match in1960. He also briefly served as a Mumbai selector.
In 1990, Achrekar was conferred with the prestigious Dronacharya award for his services to cricket coaching. In 2010, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honours in India.