Ramakant Achrekar wards honour Sir on Guru Purnima

Updated: Jul 10, 2017, 09:45 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

In his playing days, Pandurang Salgaonkar was fast and furious on India's first-class cricket scene and he provided an example of his straight-from-the-heart approach

In his playing days, Pandurang Salgaonkar was fast and furious on India's first-class cricket scene and he provided an example of his straight-from-the-heart approach yesterday at a function held in honour of coach Ramakant Achrekar, 85, on Guru Purnima.

"Cricketers in Mumbai are yet to fully know sir because no one tried to understand him. Sir deserved much more recognition in Mumbai, but had to produce a cricketer of Sachin Tendulkar's stature to attain that," saiad Salgaonkar.

Chandrakant Pandit, who until recently was the Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach, echoed the sentiments of his former Mahindra collegue. "We always felt that the Mumbai Cricket Association needed to do something for sir, but what did Mumbai do for their Dronacharya? I felt something has to be done for sir, who helped a lot of cricketers to play for the country, Mumbai and other states too," said Pandit who has been is organising the Dronacharya Ramakant Achrekar U-14 cricket tournament for the last 18 years.

An array of Achrekar-mentored players attended the felicitation function (organised by former Railways Ranji Trophy cricketer Naresh Churi) including Test men Balvinder Singh Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe.

"I remember sir coming to my home beyond midnight and asking my father why was he not allowing me to play cricket. My father expressed his concerns over my education and a future job. Sir then handed over Rs.1000 to my father and said that this would be his monthly salary till I get a job," recalled Pandit.

Sandhu, initially an off-spinner, said it was Achrekar who made him a swing bowler when he watched him swing the ball during a summer camp, while Amre was encouraged by Achrekar to join Railways even when he had played a Ranji Trophy game for Mumbai. Amre ultimately gained his India selection as a Railways and Central Zone player.

Churi recalled the days when Achrekar used to explain the art of batting even through action photographs of Sunil Gavaskar, Ashok Mankad.

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