In the corner of a dusty cricket field, watching over the boys he's brought from Australia to train in tough, spinning Indian conditions, Jason Krejza seems at home in his new role as the coach. He is also way too cheerful to be labeled as one of the tragedies of Australian cricket: a spinner who could have calmed their nerves on treacherous tracks in this part of the world if it wasn't for the injuries.
Former Australian spinner Jason Krejza (right) training youngsters in Kandivli yesterday
"I love coming to India," says Krejza, who is in Mumbai on a coaching assignment for a tie-up between Mumbai-based Global Cricket School and Australia's Elite Cricket Academy, where he is the head coach. Krejza made his name in India, claiming eight wickets on his Test debut for Australia in Nagpur in 2008 and followed it up with a four-wicket haul in the second innings.
He was one silver lining in Australia's 172-run defeat then. "Indians still remember me doing that. It brings back really good memories. That game in Nagpur is a bit of a blur still, I can't remember much of it. So it's always good to come back and reminisce," he says.
Despite earning his baggy green, Krejza couldn't use it for longer. He went on to play just one more Test match and eight ODIs. "So far I've had eight knee surgeries and eight hip surgeries," says the off-break bowler. "The last five years of my career I play the season, operation, play the season, operation.
"My action started changing to compensate for the pain. My knee used to give away so I couldn't bowl as hard through the crease, it is pretty difficult." Having been forced into early retirement now — Krejza is only 32 — he is finding joy in moulding the careers of young cricketers in Australia.