In November 1992, the Indian team touring the South African nation found themselves in a precarious position at Durban against Allan Donald, Brian McMillan and Brett Schultz.
It was the Test debut of a young sensation from Mumbai whose exploits in the domestic circuit had begun to look too intimidating to ignore, but at 39/4, few expected him to deliver.
But then, it was one of those days when fortune favoured the brave. The young man survived the pace on a bouncy surface and went on to carve a wonderful century out of sheer grit and perseverance.
His international career ended 11 Tests and 37 ODIs down the line, but Pravin Amre ensured that his was going to be a name to be remembered, although in a different role.
On his 48th birthday, Amre now finds himself as a celebrated coach and one of the most respected cricket gurus in the country. From being a batting prospect on debut and failing to justify his talent to helping others reach their potential, Amre’s life has come full circle.
A DIFFERENT CHAPTER IN AMRE’S ROMANCE WITH CRICKET
While the more distinguished pupils of Ramakant Achrekar carried on to establish their might in the game, Amre chose to follow the footsteps of his teacher. He cleared the BCCI Level III examination for coaches and joined the Mumbai Ranji squad on a full-time position.
After serving Mumbai cricket for five years on a successful coaching stint, Amre decided to take a breather and spend time with his family. However, the team’s poor season and emerging controversies unsettled him enough to rejoin Mumbai in 2014.
Meanwhile, watching videos of great cricketers, studying biomechanics and devising papers and presentations, saw him transform into a personal coach, from being a team coach, with an intricate understanding of the game.
In 2011, Amre started a cricket academy in Mumbai to nourish young talent. Over the next few years, he went on to refresh the cricketing skills of several youngsters and resurrect quite a few international careers. Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Naman Ojha, Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer and Abhishek Nayar are a few notable names in that list.
WORKING WITH ESTABLISHED CRICKETERS
For Amre, being a coach is much more than throw-downs and pointing out the mistakes in a batsman’s backlift. He believes in forging relationships through proper communication.
In his words, “When you talk about managing players, you have to understand their philosophy. Sometimes they have problems in their lives. It could be emotional, it could be technical, it could be so many things. You have to go deeper to study them.”
Perhaps this is what makes him a personal coach par excellence. “It was one of the most significant decisions I have made in my life. I will continue to work with Sir in future but I am glad that he agreed to work with me when I approached him,” admitted Robin Uthappa, who had sought Amre’s assistance after the 2012 IPL season.
After many grueling months, the results of ‘Project Uthappa’ were out for everyone to see. The Karnataka batsman not only notched up massive scores in domestic cricket but also made a strong case for himself to be drafted into the Indian team for limited overs matches.
BEING A PLAYER’S COACH
Here's wishing our batting Coach, Praveen Amre, a very Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/CpUpVBZvxF— Delhi Daredevils (@DelhiDaredevils) August 14, 2016
The essentials of a good coach are thoroughly imbibed in the man who began plying his trade at the hallowed Shivaji Park Gymkhana turf with Under-13 players. He believes in giving credit to his students and is always eager to help out anyone who comes asking for it.
He appreciates the fact that everyone has different requirements and is keen to work on them thinking “if a player is benefited from my experience or guidance, then the runs will ultimately help a team”.
With a decade-long experience in his bag, Amre’s statistics as a coach are exceptional. More than the number of Ranji titles to his name, it is his faith in his pupils that sets him apart from others in the coaching circuit.
For someone who maintains that a player always needs to be open with his trainer, the significance of trust in a relationship cannot be emphasized enough. “Earning their (the players’) trust is the most important. If they trust you, you can make some difference even in a week.”
On this day, the unquestionable faith of numerous cricketers like Rahane, Karthik and Raina seems to be the ultimate birthday gift for Amre.
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