Amol Muzumdar to be Ravi Shastri's rival as interim batting coach

Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 07:38 IST | Harit N Joshi |

Amol Muzumdar, who was appointed SA's interim batting coach yesterday, will be his first Ranji captain Ravi Shastri's rival in the forthcoming Test series

Then Mumbai captain Ravi Shastri with batting star Amol Muzumdar at the Wankhede Stadium in the 1993-94 season. Pic/mid-day archives
Then Mumbai captain Ravi Shastri with batting star Amol Muzumdar at the Wankhede Stadium in the 1993-94 season. Pic/mid-day archives

A lot of things can change in a quarter of a century. Ask Amol Muzumdar. The batting stalwart made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai on February 12, 1994 under Ravi Shastri, who was then in his farewell first-class cricket season. Now, Muzumdar will sit in the opposition camp as South Africa's interim batting coach for the Test series against India which kicks off on October 2 in Visakhapatnam. The announcement of Muzumdar's new role was made yesterday.

Until the 2015 Test series defeat in India, South Africa had the distinction of being the best touring team after winning series in West Indies (2009-10), New Zealand (2011-12), England (2012), Sri Lanka (2014-15), Zimbabwe (2014-15) and twice drawing with Pakistan in the UAE.

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However, post the crushing 0-3 loss in India, the Proteas have never been the same. The Proteas come into the India series on the backdrop of their recent loss against Sri Lanka, both at home and away.

Though South Africa were undone by extremely spin-friendly tracks in the 2015 series against India, Muzumdar, who had scored 260 on his Ranji debut, said it is time to move on and embark on a new beginning.

"It is important to take a leaf out of the last tour, but not everything. It is in the past and one cannot do anything about it. It is important to focus on today; it's a new team and a fresh start. The aim is to take it from here," Muzumdar told mid-day after he was officially appointed by Cricket South Africa yesterday.

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Recently, Muzumdar, 44, assisted South African players in a spin bowling clinic. Seeing Muzumdar's working relationship with some SA players during the clinic, his prolific record in the domestic circuit (11,167 runs in 171 first-class matches at 48.13) and his stint with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL made him the perfect candidate for the SA job.

"Getting an international opportunity was always on my mind. When it came, I just picked it. Of course, playing India in India is a different challenge. But what is cricket without a challenge," Muzumdar asked.

Asked whether he will bring the famous khadoos attitude that Mumbai batsmen are known for in the South African camp, Muzumdar said: "I have realised over a period of time that coaching is completely different. As a captain you can have your style of play and what you want your team to play as, but as a coach you just cannot do that. You just have to make sure the players are comfortable and do it the correct way. And whenever possible, you need to step in."

Muzumdar felt a good mixture of technique and temperament can help SA batsmen overcome the challenged of a "potent" Indian attack. "At the moment, India's bowling attack is a potent one; an all-round one. There are a lot of challenges. It is not just spin-dominated anymore. So, we have to be prepared for everything.

"Temperament and technique is very important to succeed at the highest level. That is something I would focus up on when I am with the team," he concluded.

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