Delhi Daredevils have signed former India batsman Pravin Amre as assistant coach from the 2015 season. The franchise also severed ties with Eric Simons, who has been with the team in various roles since 2010. Amre will work for his third IPL franchise after previous stints with Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors.
Despite having a high-profile team set-up, with former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten as head coach and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen as the captain last year, Daredevils finished at the bottom of the points table with just two wins and 12 defeats. In IPL 2013, too, they had finished at the same position.
Heman Dua, Daredevils' CEO, confirmed Amre's appointment and said the franchise had been keen on recruiting an Indian coach, something the team management felt was missing last year. Dua said that Kirsten agreed to Amre's appointment.
"Last year we felt the biggest vacuum was we did not have an Indian guy on the coaching bench," Dua said. "Someone who is currently active and knows what goes on at the domestic level. Pravin brings all the knowledge as he is an active Ranji coach, so he has seen the players first-hand. He knows if we need to look at any young Indian talent, he can offer his suggestions. He can work with the Indian players in a much better way where here [he] can give support to Gary."
Amre said he accepted Daredevils' offer primarily as a challenge: "Three years ago, Daredevils were a certainty for knockouts. But the last two years, they have fallen by the wayside. That is where my inputs as a coach will come handy. I can help them form a balanced team considering seven Indian players feature always. So my knowledge of domestic Indian players will come to the fore."
According to Amre, it would be a learning experience for him, too, since he would get an opportunity with Kirsten. "I am looking forward to working with him. We know how much contributions he has done for Indian cricket so it would be a learning experience for me, too," he said.
Amre was appointed Mumbai's coach in May this year, after leaving the role three years ago. Apart from working with the Warriors franchise in the interim, Amre ventured into professional one-on-one coaching. He has been working closely with the Mumbai pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar, but gained prominence when he started working with Karnataka and India batsman Robin Uthappa from 2012.
A successful domestic season for Uthappa, who was instrumental in Karnataka winning the treble last year, only elevated Amre's profile. Prominent Indian players like Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Karthik have also consulted Amre over the last year, raising his stature as an alternate batting coach.
As for Simons, Dua pointed out that the franchise had mutually agreed to end the contract with the South African: "He was there long enough with the team and we felt it was not working."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo