MUMBAI: Bracing for perhaps the toughest tour in recent times, South Africa’s young batsmen have just received a boost in the form of Mumbai stalwart Amol Muzumdar being named the interim Proteas batting coach during their three-Test tour to India.
Muzumdar, who scored 11,167 First Class runs, including 30 hundreds will be working with skipper Faf du Plessis and CSA acting director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl. On his First-Class debut for Mumbai, Muzumdar had slammed a career-best 260 against Haryana – a world record back then.
Post retirement, Muzumdar has moved on to become one of the better coaches in India, earning high performance coaching certificates from the BCCI, Cricket Australia as well as in the UK through both Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Muzumdar is currently the batting coach of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, and has coached the India Under-19 and Under-23 sides at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and was also the Netherlands’ batting coach. He was also interviewed recently for the post of India batting coach, a position that eventually went to Vikram Rathour.
“The offer came in the last week or so, when CSA approached me. I had a ‘working relationship’ with a lot of their players over the years, when they’ve come here. I’ve been comfortable with them. I’ve met Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma a few times,” Muzumdar told TOI on Monday.
Clearly, the biggest objective South Africa aim to achieve by hiring Muzumdar is tackling India’s spin threat. When the Proteas last toured India back in the winter of 2015, they were hammered 3-0 as R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja left them bamboozled on raging turners. “It’s true that playing spin in India will be a big challenge, but at the moment, you can’t discount the Indian fast bowlers.
India have a potent bowling attack. When someone like Jasprit Bumrah is there, it’s also about the challenge of playing their seam bowling,” the 44-year-old opined.
This is likely to be the most inexperienced South African team, especially when it comes to batting – there’s no AB de Villiers or Hashim Amla this time. “It’s quite a big challenge, but these are the things you look forward to as a coach. It will be interesting,” said the Mumbaikar. Will he look to imbibe the same ‘
khadoos‘ attitude in the South African batsmen that Mumbai players are known for? “I won’t comment on that!” he said, laughing, before saying: “But
kyon nahin (why not). If it’s beneficial, why not?”
“Amol is a perfect fit for us,” Van Zyl was quoted as saying in the release.