Five batsmen whose career was resurrected by Pravin Amre
In November 1992, when Pravin Amre trampled upon the likes of Allan Donald, Brian McMillan and Brett Shultz in Durban on his Test debut, a promising cricket career was on the cards. Rescuing India from a miserable situation of 39/4, Amre scored a century on a bouncy and fast-paced wicket to display his determination and grit. The young man from Mumbai, who had piled up huge scores in domestic cricket was finally getting his due and Indian cricket looked safely-placed.11 Tests and 37 ODIs down the line, his international career came to a halt.More than two decades after Amres Test debut, his romance with the game continued in a new role. While most modern cricketers choose commentary, Amre took up coaching and cleared BCCI Level III exam for coaches.Having coached Mumbai Ranji side from 2006-07 to 2010-11, he took a break from coaching to watch videos, study bio-mechanics, read and devise papers and presentations. For him, a coachs job is much more than giving throw downs and deciding playing XI. He reinvented his modus operandi and watched the videos of all great batsmen from Don Bradman to Sachin Tendulkar, to understand the nuances of batting.Today, Amre is the most sought batting consultant across India because of his acumen and understanding of the game. He has metamorphosised himself from a team coach to a personal coach and has attained considerable success in the recent past.Lets look at five players who sought advice from Pravin Amre and displayed brilliance on the field:
#5 Dinesh Karthik
The backbone of Tamil Nadu’s Ranji Squad and one of the strong contenders to replace MS Dhoni in Test matches for India, Dinesh Karthik turned to Pravin Amre when other players had already tasted success under his wings.
After recalibrating his technique and making subtle changes in his mental make-up, Karthik came all guns blazing in 2014-15 season of Ranji Trophy with spectacular performance amassing 884 runs at an average of 57 in 11 games. He became the second highest run-getter in that season and proved to be the catalyst that turned the fortunes of Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy side around.
The wicket-keeper batsmen ameliorated his game and achieved success under the watchful eyes of Amre. In an interview, he attributed his success to Amre and told how Amre’s technical advice made him an overall better cricketer. Though he is out of the national side, the attacking batsmen have the potential to make a come back in the team to replace incumbent Wriddhiman Saha.
#4 Naman Ojha
The wicket-keeper batsmen from Madhya Pradesh contacted Amre to work on certain aspects of his batting and once everything fell in place, Ojha was dealing in double-hundreds at India “A” level.
Having warned Ojha of something fishy in his game, he reconnected with Amre in the year 2012 and since then, everything has changed for Ojha who made his test debut recently against Sri Lanka.
With Ojha, Amre “worked on three things, mainly; downswing, meaning when the bat meets the ball, his positioning and shoulder positioning.” Ojha, a committed and hardworking player, adopted the alterations in his batting and realigned his crafts to come back strongly. Along with the batting technique, Amre boosted his spirits by asking him to focus on his own game and wait for the right time to come.
#3 Suresh Raina
When Raina’s patience was severely tested in 2011 World Cup when Yusuf Pathan was picked ahead of him, Amre told him to wait for his chance. Raina made significant contributions in knock-out matches against Australia and Pakistan, which earned plaudits from team’s coach Gary Kirsten.
Also, if Raina was heavily criticized for his inability to handle short-pitch deliveries, Amre helped by working on his footwork and back foot positioning. Amre, a batting consultant who has a keen for detail, studied his batting and worked on Raina’s correct positioning which made him the second-best finisher in the Indian setup.
Raina performed brilliantly against England in ODI series last year and looked confident while facing short-pitched deliveries.
#2 Ajinkya Rahane
After an unforgettable Test debut against Australia in the year 2013 at New Delhi, Rahane was heavily criticized for his impetuous shot selection and immature brand of cricket. Getting a chance after serving the drinks’ for a spree of 16 matches, Rahane was expected to milk the opportunity but his rash shot selection and a poor performance sent him into oblivion.
The young man from Mumbai went to seek the help of Amre who had known him from his Under-17 days. Amre worked on Rahane’s batting technique since he was getting out frequently on incoming deliveries and took him to Sachin’s place which boosted his spirits. Getting back to basics once again can be very exhausting but Rahane kept working hard and a year later, he scored his maiden century against New Zealand in Wellington.
"If your technique is strong, nobody can stop you from scoring runs in all formats. People used to tell Ajinkya that he must bat like Virat Kohli. But I told him that God has made you like this for a reason. You can't be Virat. So, be Ajinkya. Be the one who can bat in any situation. Today, he is just that," Amre told Indian Express .
An emphasis on his technique coupled with Rahane’s determination reaped dividends as he scored runs on overseas outings’ for the next year. Today, Rahane is considered to be one of the best batsmen in India.
#1 Robin Uthappa
While working as an assistant coach with Pune Warriors’ (now defunct) in IPL 2012, he watched Uthappa’s batting from close quarters and advised him to work hard. A self-conceited Uthappa was taken aback by Amre’s sudden response but pondered his advise and called him from Spain, where he was celebrating his holiday post IPL.
“Project Uthappa”, as it was named, began from shedding his weight by 16 kg followed by detailed study of his batting technique. Amre went on changing “everything” and began the task of dismantling the old Uthappa.
His grip was bottom-handed and locked. I asked him to 'unlock it' so that he could hit the ball straighter," Amre says. "I then worked on his stance, footwork, shoulder position, head position. In short, I changed him from head to toe. It was course correction all the way through."
With that, Amre made Uthappa bat in different conditions and helped him in getting his mental setup right for batting across formats and conditions. The gruelling two year period saw Uthappa forcing his way back into the Indian ODI side after six years, pile up mountain of runs for his home side in domestic circuit and play a crucial role in the dwindling fortunes of Kolkata Knight Riders.