Pravin Amre is one of the better coaches in the Indian circuit and has been around for quite some time. Not only has he given personalised coaching some of the top players in India, but led U-19 team to victory in World Cup and also won several Ranji titles with Mumbai while coaching them. While talking in an exclusive interview with Cricketnext, Amre bared it all about his coaching, how did it start, and how does he keep updated with the latest practices.
“I was a great fan of Achrekar sir. I was very close to him. Being with him for many years, I started developing an interest in coaching. He was the one who asked me to take up coaching in 2000 at Shivaji Park Gymkhana academy in Mumbai where all those boys came from – Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Siddesh Lad, to name just a few – from the first batch of my coaching assignment.
“The journey started then. In 2006-07, I became Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach and was there for six years, winning three Ranji Trophy titles. That’s when I understood what coaching was all about, be very professional when working with the Mumbai Ranji Trophy, where the expectations are so high. Winning is so important for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. We are 41-time Ranji Trophy champions and the next best is Karnataka with eight titles."
Amre gave an insight, what the role of a coach is, how does one help the players perform better. “Take the case of Shreyas Iyer. When he started, Mumbai did not win but still, we backed him and he became the first Mumbai player to score 1,300 runs or more in a Ranji Trophy season (2015-16).
“The same applied to Rohit and Ajinkya, their early years were not successful. That’s when I learned the role of a coach. Our job is also at stake when you back such players, others may not like that sometimes. That is the challenge – back your gut feelings. Players also need that support system. You work for the institution or association and when the championship is won, you know you have played your role as a coach, and that is where the satisfaction comes."
One challenge for any coach is handling a top player, and Amre knows a thing or two about such greats. “Handling top players is very crucial. That is what I learned in the Mumbai dressing room when Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan were there. IPL is different where you not only have Indian stars but also overseas stars like Kagiso Rabada, the main bowler. Ricky has got great communication skills, the way he handles them.
“We, as coaches, need to be more honest. IPL can be more challenging to handle a group of 25 players. Everyone wants to play, those not playing are disappointed. We need to take care of them. They also understand that only four foreigners can play in the 11. We have to stick to the team that is doing well, and at the same time keep others ready because IPL is such a funny tournament, we don’t know whom we will require at which moment.
“It is a challenge to handle the entire group. I learned from Ricky, who was good in handling not only the playing 11 but also those outside, making sure their intensity levels didn’t drop. That is a challenge for any coach in IPL, keeping them ready and ensuring they had the same intensity throughout like they were on Day 1."