Vidyadhar Paradkar, who mentored several international cricketers, including Ajinkya Rahane, Zaheer Khan, and Haseeb Hameed, passed away on Sunday. He was 76.
A prominent coach in the maidans here, Paradkar played a key role in helping Rahane make the Indian team after a series of consistent performances for Mumbai. Rahane started training under Paradkar, better known as Vidya sir to his wards, at the age of 16. Even after making it to the Indian team, Rahane would visit Paradkar regularly.
At an event in 2019, Rahane had spoken about how Paradkar helped him come so far. “Sir has helped so many cricketers, and I am one of them. Whenever there has been a tough time, he has made it a point to call me and guide me on how to work hard. He instilled discipline among his wards,” Rahane had said.
The India batter also recalled an incident when Paradkar gave him a bat that Sachin Tendulkar had gifted the seasoned coach. “I went on to play for Mumbai at the U-15 and U-17 levels and scored runs. Then, one day, he told me that the bat was gifted to him by Sachin Tendulkar. He always taught us to respect the game,” Rahane had reminisced.
On Sunday, Rahane posted a tribute on social media: “Saddened to share that my childhood coach Mr Vidya Paradkar has departed for heavenly abode. He played a momentous role in shaping me as a person and cricketer. Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this moment. Om Shanti.”
Paradkar was introduced to a young England batter, Hameed, in 2011, when he had come down to India. Four years later, in 2015, Hameed returned to Paradkar’s academy. By then, he had represented England at the U-19 level and also made his First Class debut. But with a bit of guidance, the youngster eventually made his Test debut for England when the team toured India in 2016. He was also one of the coaches at the National Cricket Club in Cross Maidan when the likes of Wasim Jaffer and Zaheer played for it.
One of the most respected coaches in the city, Paradkar and his wife Pramila lived on the ground floor of the Pannalal Terrace building, next to the Gilbert Tank Maidan in South Mumbai. But in 2020, incessant rains almost destroyed his home in Grant Road, forcing the couple to shift to a relative’s house in Walkeshwar. Later, he found a home in the same building.
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