Maharashtra Sports Minister Vinod Tawde said on Thursday that the state government was thinking of setting up an institute in the memory of renowned cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar who took his last breath on January 2. Achrekar, 87, whose students includes Sachin Tendulkar, Pravin Amre and Vinod Kambli, died of age-related ailments on Wednesday.
His funeral sans state honours on Thursday morning raised eyebrows. Housing minister Prakash Mehta expressed regret over the same. Speaking to the reporters later, Tawde said the government was thinking of setting up an institute in Achrekar’s name. “We will be contacting his family soon,” he said.
Tendulkar, who scored 18,426 runs in ODIs and 15,926 runs in Tests, is considered to be one of the greatest players in the modern era. Earlier in the year, Tendulkar had said coaches are like gurus. In 1990, Achrekar was honoured with the Dronacharya Award for Outstanding coaches in Sports and Games. He was honoured with one of the country's highest civilian award, the Padma Shri in 2010. In the same year, he was honoured the "Lifetime Achievement" award by the Sports Illustrated by Gary Kirsten.
On January 3, Tendulkar arrived at the funeral and it was a touching moment for everyone to see. As Achrekar’s funeral passed, at a particular ground, there was a fitting and symbolic tribute to the man who had given Indian cricket plenty of stars. On both sides, there were a group of young boys who raised a bat in salute to the achievements of Achrekar.
Achrekar belonged to that near extinct tribe of cricket coaches, who gave quintessential talented middle-class boys hope and imparted knowledge that they carried a lifetime. It is believed that Achrekar would put a one rupee coin over stumps and challenge Tendulkar not to get bowled in order to earn the coin is a part of cricketing folklore. Tendulkar still maintains that those coins are priceless. It is also reported in Mumbai cricket circles that Tendulkar once got a "tight slap" for missing a match in order to watch the senior school team play a final match. "People should come to watch you rather you clapping from the stands," Tendulkar recalled Achrekar's words in a story that has been repeated often at various functions.