Legendary coach Ramakant Achrekar used to recycle old balls for his wards

Legendary coach Ramakant Achrekar used to recycle old balls for his wards

The late coach's students came together to pay him tributes at a condolence meeting at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana.

Sachin Tendulkar & Vinod Kambli
Sachin Tendulkar & Vinod Kambli with Ramakant Achrekar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The famed coach of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, Ramakant Achrekar, passed away on January 2 at the age of 87 and on Thursday, as the late guru’s grown-up wards came together to pay him tributes at a condolence meeting at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana, a number of unknown stories came up, showing how disciplined and focused a coach was Achrekar who also understood the significance of not coaching at times.

Tendulkar, who himself was present on the occasion along with Vinod Kambli, another former student of Achrekar and a former national player, revealed their late teacher’s tougher side of giving ‘prasad’ (a slap) to his wards if they fell to a silly shot. Even Kambli could not save himself from the ‘prasad’ as the cricketer himself admitted during the condolence meet.

Sir did back then what no coach has done even now

Another interesting story about Achrekar that came from Naresh Churi, a well-known local coach and the late former’s adopted son, and it was about his knack of preserving worn-out balls. The cricket coach used to keep a bag full of such balls that nobody else would have used.

“Sir always used to preserve worn-out balls. He had a bag full of such balls which nobody would have liked to use. However, sir did what no coach has done even now, back then – recycling of balls. We all used to peel off the outer surface of the ball and send the inner portion (small ball) to the factory in Meerut. He used to purchase the recycled balls at half price,” Times of India quoted Churi as saying.

Sharad Pawar, a veteran politician from Maharashtra and also a former cricket administrator, said on the occasion that Mumbai needed a dedicated coach like Achrekar when they were struggling in domestic tournaments like Ranji Trophy. The 41-time champions have been knocked out of the tournament in the league stage this season.

Tendulkar also spoke about an interesting facet of Achrekar’s coaching. He said the late coach stopped short of interfering with a player’s natural style and that, the legend believes, helped him thrive in international cricket for 24 years.

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