The memory still remains vivid in the mind of Kalpana, the daughter of Sachin's cricket coach and Dronacharya Award winner, Ramakant Achrekar. Kalpana summed up Sachin's character in one sentence - Vah 'jiddi' hai (a never-say-die character) - when Thatscricket.com caught up with her with regard to the Sachin Tendulkar special.
Kalpana, who played for Mumbai and Mumbai University (both erstwhile Bombay), shared her as well as her father's feelings. Kalpana was also coached by her father and about the time Sachin made headlines, she quit the game and followed her father's foot steps as coach.
Having watched Sachin closely over the years and having a pulse of her father's feeling for the Indian star, she was absolutely impressed by the "immaculate" nature of Sachin and his family. The following is an excerpt of the exclusive interview:
Does Sachin come to meet his coach Achrekar?
Yes, he visits us regularly and makes it a point to inform us on the phone before coming. He comes with his wife and children. Though hisdaughter Sarah is still quite a child, she is very well mannered. His son Arjun is too young to talk about. His wife Anjali is very homely and does not mind sitting for hours. They visit our place and behave as if they are in their own home.
What do your father and Sachin mostly talk about?
They mostly talk cricket. Sachin discusses his weaknesses in batting and father tries to teach him how to overcome the same. Sachin gives all respect to my father. Each time he visits us, he touches father's feet and takes his blessings. He knows all of us and inquires about us as well. He does not have any kind of reservation and talks freely even about family matters.
What do you and your father think of Sachin as a cricketer?
Australian batsman Matthew Hayden has already called him a God. He is definitely God's gift. He is a great learner. He used to train under my father at Shivaji Park and at that time he was staying with his uncle in Dadar.
Sachin used to be a serious cricketer from a very young age. Even at the age of 12, he flooded my father with queries. My father was impressed with him from day one. He always talked highly about him.
Where do you think Sachin will be 10 years from now as a cricketer?
God willing he will become an all time great. He has already completed 10,000 runs in One-day cricket and has the highest number of centuries in this version of game. His Test record is impressive as well. The way he is playing, he will easily score at least 40 Test hundreds. He will become the highest run getter in both forms of cricket. I pray God that he keeps associated with Indian cricket for the next 10 years. Records will get created because he is always focused while playing.