Part 2 Pravin Amre Interview: I want to contribute to a cricketer”s career: Coaching is the universal language of change and learning. Coach Pravin Amre makes his players see what they can be rather than what they are. This humble and down to earth personality shared some sweet moments with us… as to how his father even today goes to drop and pick him up from the airport before all tours. He is someone who believes in new talent and backs them at every step in their career as he ultimately wishes that all of them should go on and represent India at the highest level in cricket.
It has always been a paradox to a common man as to why highly talented sportsmen need coaches. Could you please elaborate the critical role that a coach plays in enhancing a player’s performance?
Pravin: If you see in the last 5 years there are many changes come about in cricket and you have to be updated as to what is going on. With the introduction of T20 a lot of things have changed. We try to make a cricketer fit into all the formats. As a batsman you have to make so many adjustments, your technique should be good along with skills and mental aspect. This is the role that a coach plays as he guides them, prepares them for every format. You have to be blunt some times and tell them where they are going wrong.
Are there any challenges that you face while juggling your role as a private batting consultant to your regular day to day coaching and then IPL?
Pravin: Personal coaching is not a very well-known concept in India and it will take people some time to actually understand as to what is personal coaching because it is taking on a responsibility of a player. We have to take them to the next level and as a coach when you are coaching a team and if a player is not doing well then you can drop him but in individual coaching if the player fails then you have to back him and still be with him. When he is not performing it adds a lot of pressure on the coach. When they do well then all is good but when they do not perform well then the coached is blamed. Further it is all about time management and giving priorities to things. I take things as they come rather than planning ahead. The main thing is that players know whenever they need me I am there for them.
Seeing India’s current form, what do you think of their chances in the upcoming World T20?
Pravin: For any country home advantage is important, the crowds support is crucial especially in the T20 format. It takes just one over to change the game. But ultimately you have to produce good cricket and it is important to play as a team. If you see in the past we have won the championship and that confidence will be carried forward now as well.
As a coach do you think that playing back to back series one after another takes a toll on cricketers and more importantly fatigue affects their performance?
Pravin: See the time has come where they can’t complain and it is life for them. Rather than giving an excuse they have to find a way out as to how they can be mentally and physically fit to do a lot of travelling and play back to back matches and how they will be fresh when they have to play.
If you had to pick one then what would you pick and why? Pravin Amre the cricketer or Pravin Amre the coach?
Pravin: It is all inter related… what I am doing as a coach is what Pravin Amre went through as a player. It was a hard life… But I make sure that whatever I learnt, now I give back to cricketers so that it makes their journey easy. Moreover I will say that it is a fusion. I have gone through the level 2 level 3 on how to coach and you have to be one step ahead of your students. You have to understand their current situations but I think that what I am enjoying right now is that what as a player I could not achieve I am making sure that my students achieve that.
At any point of time would you like to try your hand at commentary?
Pravin: Coaching is more fascinating because ultimately I would want to contribute to their career. As a commentator you can tell them what they are doing wrong but actually to show them the way is the most critical job and that is what a coach does. More than just talking I want to contribute.
What are the most important factors you have to take into account while coaching individual cricketers?
Pravin: (Smiles) Firstly even I have to be fit as you have to stand 5 hours at a stretch. You have to be fit to work and deal with them. Further I understand as a coach that a fit body will have a fit mind because my inputs are very important… if I make an error in judgement then it will cost them their career. You have to be very cautious about it, I have to update myself…when I look as a coach of 2006 and then 2015…it has been a long journey as a coach. You have to explain to them as to what you are doing, why you are doing it and in that case every day is challenging.
What message would you like to give to the current Indian Team touring Australia?
Pravin: Just enjoy your game because you cannot go to Australia and take stress. The Aussies are indeed a strong team and they have home advantage, also the fact that they are the World Cup winners. We have got nothing to lose we are also going to improve our skills when we play there. More than cricketing skills, they have to be confident mentally. There is also room to improve and when they come back they will be a much better side.
So many players take you as their biggest inspiration when it comes to playing cricket. Who has been your inspiration and support system all these years?
Pravin: My guru Achrekar sir, as he was so passionate and committed to the game. My parents also played a huge role in my development as they have made me the person I am. They are the ones who backed me, because in life when I was not doing well they supported me a lot. They told me that you have tried your best…and that was very important. They were always satisfied with the way I made an effort. That was very motivating. I was the same for them whether I got a 0 or 100.
Who according to you from Team Mumbai, will be the next player to make the cut in the Indian team?
Pravin: There are couple of boys…It is always going to be the person who performs well who will go to the next level.
Pravin Amre is all geared up to play the exciting rapid fire round
What do people fondly call you: Pravin or Ambey
Pravin Amre the coach: Tries to give his best
The words which best describe these cricketers-
Ajinkya Rahane: Discipline
Suresh Raina: Talented
Shreyas Iyer: Natural player
Naman Ojha: Good cricketing skills
Robin Uthappa: Hardworking
Dinesh Karthik: God gifted cricketer
The Mumbai Team is: A team who is committed to the Mumbai logo
If not a cricketer then what would you have been: A doctor
Your favourite cuisine: I love home food
Your favourite holiday destination: South Africa
Life as a coach: Teaches you to be calm and patient
Life as a cricketer: Really exciting as it gave me what I wanted to be in my life
Your favourite cricket ground: Durban
Your closest friend in the cricketing circuit: Sachin
Your favourite cricketing shot: On drive
Favourite format: 4 day cricket
One thing you cannot do without: Thinking about not to be at the ground
Your secret to success: Commitment
Something your fans do not know about you: That I can do things out of the box
Message to your fans: Enjoy watching cricket and back the new talent
Message to youngsters who want to take up cricket on a professional level: Be committed and honest to your game.