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Home > City Resources > Sports & Recreation > Personalities

 Ramakant Achrekar 

Moulding geniuses

Making a point : Coach Achrekar with a pupilIn the Indian tradition, the guru-disciple relationship is held in high esteem. Cricket lovers in the country and Mumbaiites, in particular, are highly obliged to veteran cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar, who has given us a great sporting jewel in Sachin Tendulkar. On the other hand, the little maestro Tendulkar has paid a perfect tribute to his coach Achrekar by emerging as the premier batsmen in contemporary cricket.

Coach Achrekar with assistant coach Naresh Kumar ChuriRamakant Achrekar, who turned 68 on December 3, 2000, is reckoned as one of the most prominent cricket coaches in the country. Achrekar is a passionate cricketer, who has devoted more than 5 decades of his life to the game, and has seen scores of cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sandeep Patil etc., slug it out on the maidans of Mumbai. Test players like Ramnath Parkar, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit, Lalchand Rajput, Praveen Amre, Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar and Sameer Dighe honed their skills under Achrekar's able guidance.

Coach Ramakant AchrekarAchrekar has coached Shardashram School, Dadar, for more than 3 decades at Kamat Memorial Cricket Club ground at Shivaji Park. There are 12 nets on the ground, with 20 boys practicing their skills in each net. “Sachin was very young, when his brother Ajit brought him to me. As a youngster, Sachin was very dedicated. I feel happy when he comes to meet me,” reminisces Achrekar.

Teaching the forward defensive stroke.When asked to make an analysis of Sachin's career graph after he broke former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin's record in the final of the ICC-knockout Trophy against New Zealand with a knock of 63, and emerged as the highest run-getter in one day cricket, Achrekar said, “Sachin is the most genuine cricketer I have ever seen. He is capable of breaking all the records ”. Achrekar feels that southpaw Vinod Kambli is also a talented player who can make a comeback into the Indian team. He also thinks highly of Robin Morris, who made his way into the Mumbai team on the strength of his sterling performances with the bat and ball for Orissa. When asked how he felt about former India batsman Praveen Amre, who was also his student, Achrekar said, “Amre was very talented and could have played longer for India, but the selectors neglected him.

The master trains a youngsterAchrekar is an avid watcher of cricket. He keeps himself updated with latest developments in the game through television and newspapers. Achrekar watched the recently concluded Indo-Zimbabwe Test series and enjoyed the match-saving knock of 232 by Andy Flower. Achrekar feels that Saurav Ganguly is a talented batsmen and an improving captain, while Zaheer Khan is a promising youngster.

Assistant coach Naresh Kumar Churi, who represented the Railways team in the Ranji Trophy from 1983 to 1989 has been associated with Achrekar for the past 25 years. When asked to recount his experience while working with Achrekar, Churi said, “When sir (coach Achrekar) taught the game to youngsters, I would observe him, and that is how learnt the basics of the game. His experience has helped me a lot”. Churi also added, “Children from affluent families would come to us for coaching. However, after the match fixing scandal came to light, only boys who are serious about the game come for the training”.

India has produced quality spinners in the past. Legendary spinners like Bishen Singh Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrashekhar and Ventkatraghavan commanded the respect of the opposition. However, the current Indian team has only one quality spinner in Anil Kumble. To add to this imbroglio, Kumble was ruled out due to injury and his absence was felt in the ongoing series against Zimbabwe. Commenting on this scenario, coach Achrekar said, “We have the talent and we can produce quality spinners. Unfortunately, we are not able to channelise the available talent in a proper way. This requires diligent practice. Even when I coach the boys, I tell them that they have to be regular in their practice”. It is no wonder that Achrekar is a believer in the old adage - practice makes a man perfect.

By : Wasim Siddiqui


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