Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar paid a glowing tribute on Thursday to Ramakant Achrekar, his childhood coach and lifelong mentor who has died aged 87.
Achrekar, a club-level coach, discovered a 12-year-old Tendulkar’s extraordinary talents in Mumbai and nurtured him on his way to becoming cricket’s most prolific run-scorer of all time.
Achrekar died at his home in Mumbai on Wednesday.
“Cricket in heaven will be enriched by the presence of Achrekar Sir. Like many of his students I learnt the ABCD of cricket under Sir’s guidance,” Tendulkar said in a statement.
“His contribution to my life cannot be captured in words. He built the foundation that I stand on.
“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 many more,” the 45-year-old Tendulkar added.
Tendulkar, who holds many batting records in his illustrious career including 100 centuries in Test and ODIs, retired in 2013 after scoring more than 34,000 international runs.
He attended Achrekar’s funeral which was carried out according to Hindu traditions on Thursday.
Besides Tendulkar, the top coach also trained other prominent Indian players including Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India expressed its “deepest sympathy”.
“Not only did he produce great cricketers, but also trained them to be fine human beings. His contribution to Indian Cricket has been immense,” the BCCI wrote on Twitter.
The Indian cricket team wore black armbands Thursday during the Test against Australia in Sydney to pay their respects.