Animal-loving former coach of Tendulkar yearns to meet his ward

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A Mumbai based NGO is trying to help a man who once coached Sachin Tendulkar meet the cricketing legend.

The NGO Animals Matter To Me (AMTM) has got in touch with the animal-caring railway ticket checker Rajan Nair (57), who spends nearly half his salary in feeding stray dogs and cats at various stations from Vashi to Belapur, to help him fulfill his wish to meet the legendary cricketer at least once before he retires from his railways job, Times of India reported.

"We had recently read about the railway TC, Rajan Nair, who spends from his own pocket to feed strays in station complexes along the Harbour Line route. But what surprised us all the more is that Nair was once the assistant cricket coach of a young Tendulkar and also his buddy Vinod Kambli. From 1986 to '88, Nair was working under the famed coach Ramakant Achrekar sir, to train youngsters like Sachin and Kambli,'' TOI quoted animal activist Ganesh Nayak of AMTM as saying.

Nayak is now trying to connect with cricketing legend through his manager for this purpose. "I remember Tendulkar was a very bright and naturally talented cricketer even while in school. As the assistant coach under Achrekar ji, I have fond memories interacting with the young Sachin, Kambli and others who all went on to do well in cricket. However, I could not meet Sachin again after he went on to play Test cricket,'' said Nair.

Besides doing his regular railway duties as a TC, Nair still trains youngsters in cricket at the Almighty Cricket Academy in Matunga. After the coaching hours, he again goes back to various stations to feed the resident dogs who actually wait for him with wagging tails to bring them the food goodies.

An interesting anecdote that Nair shared about the schoolboy Sachin was: "In those days, I used to carry these colourful sweets called 'poppins' in my pocket. Sachin was very fond of these sweet `golis' and often asked me for it while training on the ground.'' Of course, Nair was happy to oblige Sachin and any other boys with these sweets.

Activist Nayak added: "Nair will soon be retiring, but he still wants to continue serving the street animals with his limited funds. We salute his love for animals and that is why we took it upon ourselves to help him somehow meet Sachin again.''

Considering that the biopic of Tendulkar is also going to be released soon, the animal activists feel that this is the apt time to connect him with his coach.

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