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Bhishma Pitamah Ramakant Achrekar passes away

Bhishma Pitamah Ramakant Achrekar passes away
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Ramakant Achrekar, the celebrated cricket coach credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar, died on Wednesday

Well played sir, may you coach more wherever you are: Tendulkar

Mumbai: Ramakant Achrekar, the celebrated cricket coach credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar, died on Wednesday.

He was 87 and, according to a family member, had been battling old age-related ailments for the past few days.

"He (Archrekar Sir) is no more with us. He passed away this evening," his kin Rashmi Dalvi told PTI over phone.

Achrekar competed in just one first-class match in his playing career but discovered and shaped the biggest batsman in international cricket after Sir Donald Bradman in Tendulkar.

"Cricket in heaven will be enriched with the presence of (Ramakant) Achrekar sir," said iconic former batsman Tendulkar as he paid an emotional tribute to his childhood coach who passed away Wednesday.

"Like many of his students, I learnt my ABCD of cricket under Sir's guidance," said the Dronacharya awardee's most famous ward, in a statement. "His contribution to my life cannot be captured in words. He built the foundation that I stand on," he added.

Tendulkar, unarguably the greatest batsman in modern cricket, was coached by Achrekar at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai's Dadar as a child.

As a player, Achrekar competed in just one first-class match but was instrumental in moulding Tendulkar as a child, often driving him to stadiums on his scooter.

"Last month, I met Sir along with some of his students and spent some time together. We shared a laugh as we remembered the old times," he said.

"Achrekar sir taught us the virtues of playing straight and living straight. Thank you for making us a part of your life and enriching us with your coaching manual. "Well played Sir and may you coach more wherever you are," he signed off.

"Sir did not say well-played to me ever, (but) I knew (when) Sir has taken me to have bhelpuri or paani-puri, Sir is happy, I have done something nice on the field," Tendulkar had said last year at an event while recalling Achrekar's contribution in making him the cricketer he became.

Achrekar was bestowed the Padmashri award in 2010. Besides Tendulkar, he also coached some prominent players in Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.

Batting great VVS Laxman termed Achrekar as someone who gave Indian cricket its "jewel".

"My heartfelt condolences on the passing away of #RamakantAchrekar Sir, who was instrumental in giving a jewel to Indian cricket," Laxman wrote on his Twitter handle.

Expressing its condolences, the BCCI noted Achrekar's contribution to Indian cricket.

"The BCCI expresses its deepest sympathy on the passing of Dronacharya award-winning guru Shri Ramakant Achrekar," the BCCI tweeted.

"Not only did he produce great cricketers, but also trained them to be fine human beings. His contribution to Indian Cricket has been immense."

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