After guiding Mumbai to their 38th Ranji Trophy crown as coach, Praveen Amre has set his sights on another coveted title – the Indian Premier League – to be played in South Africa from April 18 to May 24.
Amre, who has joined as coach of Mumbai Indians franchise outfit and aims to act as the bridge between the youngsters and team mentor Shaun Pollock, said the rapport he has built up over the last three years with Mumbai players and West Zone cricketers would be very useful.
“The difference between my stint for Mumbai in Ranji Trophy and for Mumbai Indians is that I would be more accountable,” Amre told reporters on Wednesday at the Brabourne Stadium.
“The rapport I have built over the last three years coaching Mumbai in Ranji Trophy will be helpful. I also know most of the players in the team. That will be an added advantage”, said Amre who made a Test century on debut at Kingsmead in Durban during India’s maiden visit in 1992.
Amre pointed out the importance of domestic cricketers in the success or otherwise of each of the eight franchise teams.
“Each team will have seven domestic players in the playing eleven and for any team to do well the performance of these cricketers is vital,” he noted.
Amre also felt that his stint in South African domestic cricket in 1999, when he played for Boland, would help him during the Twenty20 mega event.
“I had played in all the venues where the IPL matches have been scheduled when I represented Boland for six weeks in 1999. I’m going there now in a different role,” the former middle order batsman said.
“I would like to go there and see the conditions before giving my inputs as it’s the fag end of the domestic season in South Africa and the wickets may not be as fast at this time,” said Amre.
The former Test cricketer was gung-ho over the three-week stint of 10 youngsters in his team in SA which would go up to five with the team scheduled to leave on April 5.
“They had a stay of three weeks and we would now be going two weeks in advance. That experience would be very important. We would also be playing a couple of matches in Durban when we reach there on April 5. These are being arranged by Shaun and Jonty Rhodes (the fielding coach)”, he said.
Ten MI players have come back after a 22-day training stint in SA under the watchful eyes of Pollock and Rhodes.
Amre felt shifting IPL’s second edition to South Africa would be beneficial for youngsters in all the eight franchise teams.
“As the junior selection panel chairman I had always advocated that the youngsters need to visit Australia and South Africa. This is a good chance for them to do well and impress the selectors before the Twenty20 World Cup (In June in England),” he said.
Amre felt the IPL can expect good crowd support in South Africa, especially in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“I can guarantee good crowd support in Durban, in Cape Town – which has a big Indian presence – and in Johannesburg,” he said.