I wished to see Sachin play till my last breath: Ramakant Achrekar
Sachin Tendulkar’s decision to retire from international cricket after his 200th Test has left his guru and childhood coach Ramakant Achrekar distraught.
The 81-year-old Dronacharya and Padma Shri awardee was shocked to learn that his favourite ward had decided to quit cricket yesterday.
“Obviously, he was not expecting this decision from Tendulkar. He is quite shocked. He also cried a bit,” Achrekar’s daughter Kalpana Murkar told MiD DAY. Poor health has restricted the veteran’s speech lately, but Achrekar wished to see Tendulkar play till the day of his death.
“His only wish was to see Tendulkar bat, for as long as he was alive. He is too fond of him. Cricket will not be the same for him after Tendulkar retires. For him, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer,” Kalpana said.
According to Kalpana, Tendulkar did not discuss his retirement move with Achrekar. “Sachin often comes to meet him. He recently came to seek his blessings on Guru Poornima. But, he never spoke anything about his retirement. Even we do not bring up such topics. He just enquired about my father’s health and other routine things,” Kalpana said.
Achrekar was instrumental in shifting Tendulkar from IES School (Bandra) to Shardashram Vidyamandir (English) in Dadar where he was the coach. Although Achrekar is credited for producing as many as six international cricketers, Tendulkar remains his most successful pupil.
It is now a part of cricketing folklore that Achrekar would make a young Tendulkar bat for hours in the nets, putting a one-rupee coin on top of the stumps, and awarding it to any bowler who dismissed him. If he remained unbeaten, the coach would give the coin to Tendulkar. Tendulkar had amassed a huge number of coins, and they reportedly remain Tendulkar’s prized possession.