Delhi: A mentor to scores of first-class and international cricketers, coach Tarak Sinha’s death on Saturday was mourned by the cricketing fraternity, with his brightest wards and Delhi’s two stalwart cricketers – Rishabh Pant and Virender Sehwag penning down respective heartfelt notes for the beloved Ustad Ji. The demise of Tarak sir gave a “lot of pain” to Sehwag, while it left Pant completely devastated. Sinha died on Saturday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 71.

Condoling his death, India’s star wicketkeeper Pant, who is currently in the UAE for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, wrote a special note for his “mentor, coach, motivator, biggest critic and greatest fan” Tarak Sinha. The 24-year-old said he will carry him in his heart whenever he steps on to the field.

“My mentor, coach, motivator, my biggest critic and my greatest fan. You took care of me like your son, I am devastated. You will always be with me whenever I walk out onto the field. My heartfelt condolences & prayers. May your soul rest in peace, Tarak sir,” tweeted Pant.

Pant was Sinha’s one of the brightest pupils. He was actively coached by Sinha’s longtime assistant Devender Sharma.

Sinha, who was reverentially referred to as “Ustad ji” by his disciples, was a father figure in Delhi’s famous Sonnet Club, which has produced some of the country’s finest cricketers, who ruled domestic and international cricket.

Former India opener and one of country’s biggest match-winner across all formats – Sehwag said he was deeply pained by the loss.

“Feel a lot of pain on the demise of passing away of Ustaad ji #TarakSinha. He was one of the rare coaches who gave India more than a dozen Test Cricketers & the values he inculcated in his students helped Indian cricket immensely. Condolences to his family and students,” he tweeted.

A lifetime Dronacharya Awardee, Sinha’s list of students include stalwarts of Delhi cricket such as Surinder Khanna, Manoj Prabhakar, the late Raman Lamba, Ajay Sharma, Atul Wassan, Sanjiv Sharma — some of whom also played for India.

In the post-90s, Sinha coached international players including Aakash Chopra, Anjum Chopra, all-rounder Rumeli Dhar along with pacer Ashish Nehra and Shikhar Dhawan.

“Ustaad Ji is no more. Dronacharya Awardee. Coach to over a dozen India Test cricketers. And scores of first-class cricketers. Both men and women. Without any institutional help. Your service to Indian cricket will be remembered, sir. May your soul R.I.P,” Aakash Chopra tweeted.

Atul Wassan described it as a sad day for all the students of Sonnet Club.

“Sad day for me and all sonnetians as we have lost our ustaad ji today. Toiled for decades and shaped careers but never took centre stage . Cricket fraternity has lost a gem . God bless the departed soul. Rip,” he wrote on his twitter handle.

Anjum Chopra, a former captain of India’s national women’s cricket team, wrote: “The Coach! Mr.Tarak Sinha. The nursery of Sonnet Cricket club has seen many international and domestic players (men and women) make their mark. The guide, mentor, coach May you rest in peace sir.”