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August 21, 2006
Pravin Amre has been appointed as the Mumbai coach for a two-year term following the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) Cricket Improvement Committee meeting on August 21.
Amre had been earlier appointed the batting coach. The other contenders to the post were Balwinder Sandhu, Jayantilal Kenia and Ashok Mankad. The committee comprising Madhavrao Apte, the chairman, Dilip Vengsarkar, the association vice-president, Sanjay Manjrekar, Raju Kulkarni, Milind Rege, Sanjay Patil and Shishir Hattangadi plumped for Amre.
Amre made his debut for Mumbai back in 1986-87, a time when the likes of Sunil Gavaskar were still on the circuit and when Mumbai dominated the Ranji trophy. He was a stalwart in the Shivaji Park Gymkhana.
Amre called the decision by the MCA to enlarge his role as a show of confidence. "Definitely it's an honour to be with the Mumbai Ranji team," Amre told Cricinfo. "They have given a show of confidence by giving me a two-year term. From my side it will be a commitment of 100%. When they appointed me as batting coach, it meant that they wanted me to associate with the youngsters and work on their batting and, now with this decision, the responsibility has increased. I have two years to work hard on that."
Amre, who made a hundred on Test debut against South Africa away from home, said winning back the Ranji Trophy was his priority, a tournament where Mumbai hadn't entered the finals in the last two years. "Doing well in Ranji is primary, and I would work towards getting the support and faith of the players," he continued. "Ultimately it's the players who would win it for us, they are the one who go on the field and perform, so it's crucial to get their support."
Interestingly, Amre played only one Ranji match for Mumbai, against Karnataka in 1986-87 and subsequently played for the Railways, Rajasthan and Bengal in turn to get more exposure to first-class cricket. In his debut for Railways, he scored 186 on a testing wicket in Bhopal against Madhya Pradesh.
Looking forward to working with the Mumbai team, he said the famous Mumbai kadoos (grit) will return once the team starts winning. "To win matches you need to be kadoos and when you start winning that attitude will come back. Whatever experience I got, I shall pass it on to the players."
Amre admitted that Mumbai will miss the experience of Sairaj Bahutule, the legspinner who captained them to the title in 2004. "Definitely you need experience," he concurred, "as experienced cricketers are vital in today's cricket. But whatever is available I will have to work with them. I will be meeting with the team tomorrow and shall start working."
He admitted feeling a bit nervous. "Although I have played for the country, there are butterflies in my stomach to do well for the Mumbai team."
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