A gem is the most difficult stone to identify, cut, polish and the pain it goes through in the entire process makes it a jewel which everyone loves to wear and be proud of. The lapidary or diamantaire who is the real maker of the jewel takes a backseat and moves on to identify the next gem.
The coach is like that jewel maker who slogs selflessly for bringing the best out of the stone to make it a real possession. With the passing away of Ramakant Achrekar, one of the most revered coaches India has ever seen, the cricket has lost its one of the biggest contributors of the game.
For many, he was the coach of the Little Master, Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar, Pravin Amre and so many similar legends. But as Sir embarks upon his last journey, it’s all about him and remembering the humble gentleman.
Coaching is one of the most difficult professions one can undertake. Coaches may not possess the most athletic built or skills but what they need to have is most calculative mind, shrewd cricketing acumen and neutral enough to be fair to all their students.
Coaching is not just teaching the nuances of the game, it’s not only about improving skills, neither it is about bringing out students as product of rigorous training but it is about bringing the best out of the students, it’s about bringing out self-confidence and belief, it’s about imbibing values and integrity in the students so when they make it big they are selfless and put their team and country above themselves.
Coaching does not necessarily mean calling students at wee hours to the ground, neither it requires to be a taskmaster but what coaches must provide is the trust to the students and their parents. No parents would want their most privileged pride to be handed over to an unknown entity.
A coach is a teacher who many times plays the role of a parent, is there in all ups and downs and is the first witness of failures or glory of his students. Above all, he has to understand the true potential of his student, be blunt enough to groom and straightforward enough to tell parents (and kids) about the real caliber of the student.
Achrekar was the true amalgamation of all the qualities a coach is made up of. He not only slogged endlessly for his students (the profession had no monetary returns in the 80s when he became a coach) but brought out players who changed the way the game is played today.
He built a generation of players who made the country proud with their deeds and the one who creates God is no less a mortal.
He is no more with us but his preaching, honesty, integrity and selfless love for the game would remain with us for years to come.
We are going to miss your smile and cricketing genius in you with that peculiar cap. You were the real Dronacharya for us.