Ramakant Achrekar was a famous Indian Cricket Coach from Mumbai. He is best known for coaching young cricketers at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park in Dadar, most notably Sachin Tendulkar. The celebrated coach is credited for discovering Sachin Tendulkar. Besides being the coach of Sachin Tendulkar, Achrekar has many other things worth knowing. Let’s explore in detail about Ramakant Achrekar’s family, career, biography and more.
Ramakant Achrekar was born in a Marathi Family on 5 December 1932 (age 86; at the time of death) in Malvan Village, Maharashtra, British India. He was fondly called “Baba” by his close family members and friends. When Achrekar was 11-year-old, he came to Bombay (now, Mumbai) with his parents. Achrekar did his schooling from Chabildas High School in Dadar West, and it was there that he started taking interest in Cricket.
He had also worked in the State Bank for a while, where he met Ajit Wadekar, another banker-turned-cricketer. Achrekar could not become a successful cricketer himself, so, he started giving coaching to budding cricketers in Bombay. On his first meeting with Sachin Tendulkar, when Sachin’s elder brother Ajit had brought him to Achrekar, he said-
The first time I saw Sachin, he seemed to be just like the other boys, nothing special. But then I watched him in the nets, and he was middling the ball all the time, hitting it hard, never playing defence. He had good wrist work, and wonderful reflexes.”
On Achrekar’s recommendation, 13-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made his debut at Brabourne Stadium for CCI, and a genius was born.
The young Sachin had to undergo strict guidance of Ramakant Aachrekar; as he would practise each day between 7 and 9 am and 3.30 to 6 pm, and in between, he would play matches. Achrekar had a great bonding with his students, and he used to give them treats whenever they performed well- Pani Puri and Kulfi. However, his bonding with Tendulkar was unique, which can be explained with an instance that once, when he was suggesting Sachin to give-up his bottom hand grip, to which Sachin became quite reluctant, and eventually, Achrekar agreed that he keep the grip.
Another famous tale of Achrekar’s bonding with Sachin is that during the nets, Achrekar used to put a coin on stumps and asked whosoever would get Sachin’s wicket would get the coin, and today, Sachin considers those coins his most prized possession ever. Once, when Tendulkar missed one of his matches to see a senior match, he recieved a tight slap from Achrekar who told Tendulkar that-
People should come to watch you rather you clapping from the stands.”
Even after reaching the pinnacle of his career, Sachin never forgot to pay the due respect to his Guru- Achrekar Sir. In his farewell speech in Mumbai in 2013, a teary-eyed Sachin had said-
Sir has never ever said ‘well played’ to me because he thought I would get complacent…Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career because there are no more matches, sir, in my life.”
In the late 1990s, Achrekar was paralysed, due to which, he became less actively involved in Cricket Coaching.
His father, Vithal Achrekar, was also a Cricketer who had played for the New Hind Club along with Vijay Manjrekar’s father. He had five daughters. One of his daughters, Kalpana Murkar, is also a Cricketer-turned-Coach.
Ramakant Achrekar played official Cricket for the first time in 1943; when he was studying at Chabildas High School In Dadar. In 1945, he started playing for club cricket for New Hind Sports Club and for Young Maharashtra XI. Achrekar was a batsman-wicketkeeper and had played only one first-class match– for All-India State Bank, against Hyderabad, in 1964; where he scored 30 runs. He began coaching around 1967-68. Initially, he worked on nets at New Hind and another club, Sassanian, and later on, he founded another club, Kamat Memorial at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Later, he went on to produce many international players including Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit, Lalchand Rajput, Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe, Ajit Agarkar, Paras Mhambrey, Ramesh Powar who represented India in Tests and many others succeeded in First-Class Cricket.
1990: Dronacharya Award
2010: Padma Shri
On 2 January 2019, Ramakant Achrekar died of age-related ailments at his residence, ‘Manali Apartments,’ near Shivaji Park, Dadar, Mumbai. In the late 1990s, Achrekar received a paralytic attack and remained on a wheelchair until his death.
- He is considered the most celebrated Cricket Coach in India.
- Achrekar’s father was also a Cricketer.
- His first student to win a Test Cap was Ramnath Parkar.
- Sachin was 11-year-old when he first met Ramakant Achrekar.
- Once he slapped Sachin for missing one of his matches to see a senior player’s match.
- Besides Sachin Tendulkar, Achrekar had produced many international Cricketers including Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar, and more.
- During his entire career, Achrekar had never said to Sachin- “Well Played.”
- Ramakant Achrekar had played only one first-class match- for All-India State Bank, against Hyderabad, in 1964; where he scored 30 runs.