From ending their last season at the bottom of the table to beginning this season at the top, the Pune Warriors have come a long way. The evident lack of teamwork, drive and capability that cost them a number of matches has been replaced with a team that knows what it wants and is hell bent on getting it. The runs are being made, the wickets are being picked and the ball is controlled with fierce protection. But behind all the leading wicket takers and run getters of the team, behind the celebrity that each player is, stands the team that gives them the tools to make them famous.
Untapped talent is talent wasted. And to ensure that their players’ full potential is realised, each team depends on its support staff, its coaches who work at marshalling their players’ talents. This article gives an insight on the coaches of the Pune Warriors India – the team behind the team.
Pravin Amre (Batting Coach)
Pravin Amre, the batting coach of PWI, has been one of the rare batsmen to score a century during his debut test that included an attack of players such as his current colleague, Allan Donald. He trained under Ramakant Achrekar alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. Although he couldn’t become a permanent fixture in the Indian team, he has an impressive record in the Duleep and Ranji trophies and even on the South African domestic circuit where he played for the Boland cricket team.
He has held the title of Assistant coach for the Mumbai Indians in the past. Now the batting coach of PWI, he also holds the title of Coach for the Mumbai Cricket Team which is the most successful team in the Ranji Trophy. Known for its batting, the team has produced some of the best batsmen of the Indian Cricket Team.
Amre brings to the Pune team a proven track record of successes. His experience in training some of the best batsmen in the Ranji Trophy gives him the necessary skill to marshal the talents of the young and ready to go batsmen of PWI. Added to that is the fact that he has accompanied the Mumbai Indians to every ground of the IPL and can bring to the team the expertise of knowing his playground.
Allan Donald (Bowling Coach)
Popularly called White Lightening, Allan Donald is known as the only world class player of the South African team before Shaun Pollock and as a player who could make things happen. With a record of 330 test wickets, he is considered one of the best pace bowlers test cricket has ever seen.
He was appointed as the temporary bowling consultant for the England cricket team and after garnering much praise was offered a full time contract which he turned down. Going on to coach the Warwickshire County Cricket Club, he led his team to victory at the Second Division of the County Championship in 2008. He has also coached the Mountaineers, the reigning domestic champions in Zimbabwe. He is the current bowling coach of the South African team and was signed on as bowling coach for PWI.
His records on field and as coach do not leave much to the imagination regarding his capability. He brings to the Pune team a life of experience that has honed the skills of Pune’s bowlers. Under his guidance and training, Pune’s string of bowlers are slowly gaining a reputation of standing tall against any batting order thrown at them.
Paddy Upton (Mental Conditioning Coach)
Patrick Upton, better known as Paddy Upton, is a former cricketer who turned to physical fitness before switching to mental conditioning in sports. Gary Kirsten, who recommended and worked with Upton in the Indian Cricket team describes Paddy as ‘invaluable’. Currently the mental conditioning coach of the South African cricket team and Gary Kirsten’s business partner and mental conditioning coach at “Performance zone”, Kirsten’s Cape Town cricket academy, Upton holds two Masters in the fields of Sport Science and Executive Coaching.
Upton was the mental conditioning coach for the Indian team when they went on to win the World Cup 2011. He describes his work as intuitive. His responsibilities include understanding his team’s energy and creating an environment where the players can harness their natural motivation to exploit their talent with as little pressure as possible. He knows his players’ secrets – he’s their friend and listening ear. He helps his players overcome fears and personal emotions that could come in the way of their performance. He has the dedication required to work closely with individual players when they are faced with demons they cannot conquer.
And he’s now brought his years of experience and fine tuned intuition to PWI. If anyone knows the obstacles that the Warriors need to overcome, individually and as a team, it’s Paddy Upton. His input helps the coaches unlock the players’ full potential and make them the players they can actually be.
Like a system of cogwheels, these three coaches, along with mentor Sourav Ganguly work in sync with each other. They are the force that pushes the Warriors, one step at a time, to accomplish their best. The improvement is already evident. Now what remains to be seen is if the coaches can continue to inspire their team and go on to gather more victories.
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