Pravin Amre, in his short test career for India, left an everlasting impact by scoring a ton in his debut match, and that too playing against the fiery pace of Allan Donald. Amre is the first Indian to score a century in South Africa. After retiring from international cricket, Amre is busy coaching the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa. In an exclusive chat with the CricketSoccer.com, the former cricketer opined what should be the approach of the batsmen to get success in South Africa. He also showed immense faith in Rahane’s getting back in form.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): You were the first Indian to score a test century on South African soil, and too in your debut match…
Pravin Amre (PA): Yes, a remarkable innings indeed. South Africa, like always, had a very strong pace bowling line up in that series. Allan Donald was bowling at his speed. He was at the beginning of his career and Allan used to be a completely different bowler then. He used to rely on sheer pace at that time. We played that match at Durban which used to be the fastest track of South Africa. It is really a very pleasant memory for me as a batsman. I would say that was the best innings of my life.
CS: As another India-South Africa series knocking at the door, what would be your suggestion to the Indian batsmen to get success in South Africa?
PA: Virat Kohli and his boys are quite matured. They look very confident with the bat. Most significantly, they are among runs. So I don’t think they need any suggestion. Still, I would like to point out a few things to them. They should remember that leaving the ball is also an art and it will be very handy if they dream to score big runs in South Africa. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel – I’m not sure whoever will be playing for South Africa in the first match, but they will certainly test the patience of the batsmen by bowling on the off stump or just outside the off stump line. They will be bowling at the corridor of uncertainty. And of course, they will bowl short ones. Virat and his boys must remember that there should not be any point of hesitation whether to play a ball or leave it. If they decide to play, they should play it wholeheartedly. If you attempt any half-hearted shot, you have to suffer. And once again I would say, leaving the ball is an art. You may play pull or hook shot to a good bouncer, but if you leave it with ease, it will frustrate the bowler more.
CS: Ajinkya Rahane is not looking in touch in the recent matches that he had played. Being his personal coach, what could be the way out for him to overcome this bad patch?
PA: I think he should not bother about not getting runs in recent matches. Rather he should see that in his last tour of South Africa, he averaged more than 65. I think team India, especially the selectors have a lot of faith in him that is the reason he is the vice-captain. That responsibility is there and he is aware of that. I am sure in the coming one month, whatever people believe in him, he will deliver to that.
CS: Did you have any words with him before Rahane departed for South Africa?
PA: Yes, we had a long chat. When he is going through a tough time, it is my responsibility to figure out where exactly it is going wrong. I personally feel it is my job to go through the details and make sure he is ready for this battle. Rahane has scored runs everywhere, be it England, South Africa or New Zealand. I think that is a big advantage he has. He should believe in that because he has that capacity to do well. He is working really hard because this is important for team India and his contribution as a batting unit is very important.
CS: India is not playing any practice matches in South Africa. Is it going to make their challenges more difficult?
PA: Yes, this tour will be more challenging because there are no practise games. They have to really visualise themselves and how things will happen. It is going to be challenging.
CS: What should be the team combination for India? Should it be six batsmen, Hardik Pandya and four bowlers or should it be seven batsmen and four bowlers?
PA: It depends on the condition and the nature of the wicket. The most important thing is that Virat has got plenty of options. Rohit Sharma is among runs and he may play as the seventh batsman. At the same time, Hardik is a utility bowler and can be handy with the ball as well. I am pretty sure Ravi Shastri and Virat will go for the best possible playing eleven.
CS: You had played against Allan Donald and Brian Mcmillan. Now South Africa have Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander in their pace bowling line up. Which bowling attack will you rate higher?
PA: Obviously the one led by Donald. It’s not because of the fact that I played against them. Donald, on his day, can be devastating. That’s why he is a legend. I am not underestimating Morkel or Steyn. But I feel Donald and company used to be a nightmare for the batsman. I am hopeful that Indian batsman will shine playing against Morkel and Steyn.