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Coach Amre worried about Mumbai's wicket ways

Last updated on: November 3, 2010 22:22 IST

Preveen Amre Interview

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Mumbai coach Praveen Amre discusses his team's chances in the Ranji Trophy with Bikash Mohapatra

Praveen Amre is in a predicament.

Mumbai's coach is worried; he feels the defending Ranji Trophy champions have a tough task ahead in the current season.

And it is not pertaining to the players. It is the home turf that makes him a worried man.

With the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai's original home ground for Ranji Trophy matches being the upgraded for the upcoming World Cup and the alternative vene at the CCI (Brabourne Stadium) being overlooked owing to administrative differences between the parties concerned, the defending champions have no option but to play their home games at the MCA facility at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

To make matters worse, the wicket at the said facility is a flat one, rendering ineffective Mumbai's advantage as hosts.

"We don't get the home advantage so to speak," laments Amre, tongue-in-cheek. "You cannot compare this wicket to the ones at the Wankhede Stadium or even the CCI.

"It is tough to get an outright win inside four days on a surface like this," he adds.


Image: Praveen Amre

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'Last year we struggled in our home games'

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Mumbai struggled throughout their league campaign last season as well with just one outright win (over Himachal Pradesh) in seven matches before stepping up the momentum in the knock-out phase, something that helped them defend their title, and take their total wins in the National championship to 39.

- Also read: Rohit Sharma Interview

An encore seems a tough ask.

"Last year we struggled in our home games," admits Amre, adding, "This year it is no different."


Image: Praveen Amre

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'The away games aren't going to be easy'

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The fact that the defending champions play more away games in the group phase (four matches in seven) this season makes their matches at home even more significant.

- Also read: India's 2007 T20 WC win was a fluke, says Bedi 

And Amre is aware that while it is imperative to get maximum points at home, getting points from away games will be an arduous task.

"We know this season is going to be a tough one for us," he admits, adding, "The away games aren't going to be easy.

"The opposition will spare no effort in ensuring we don't get the wickets that suits our game." 


Image: Praveen Amre

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'I don't want to give a negative impression to my camp'

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With little help from the home turf as such, the coach has lined up alternative strategies to rake up maximum points from his three home fixtures in the group phase this season.

"It is too late to blame the wicket," says Amre, adding, "Whatever be the case, this (the MCA facility at the BKC) is our home venue for this season.

"I don't want to give a negative impression to my camp."

Instead, Amre lists a few observations.

"We know if we are batting first on this track, to score at least 500 is imperative," he says. "And that this ground demands quality bowlers, not the makeshift types," he adds, before elaborating on his strategy of playing a batsman short (in the opening game against Saurashtra).

"Ajit (Agarkar), Iqbal (Abdulla), and Ramesh (Powar) know they have an additional role to perform with the bat," explains Amre, adding, "We are going into the match one batsman short because of them.

"I am very confident of them as a coach."


Image: Praveen Amre

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'Everyone has to take up the responsibility'

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The former international goes on to explain that the said strategy works.

"Since there is an additional bowler to take up the responsibility, these players can focus more on their batting," says Amre, adding, "It works both ways.

"You can say I am gambling in this case." 

Besides, the coach wants his team to take up more responsibility than depending on a few players like Wasim Jaffer, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Agarkar to deliver for them on each occasion.

"Everyone has to take up the responsibility," says Amre, adding, "We have many champion players amidst us.

"What we need though is to play like a champion team."


Image: Praveen Amre

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'We have to make it to the final at least'

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The coach is aware that Mumbai's path to a third straight title and 40th overall will be a tough one. However, inspiration comes from his first season at the helm of affairs.

"Two years back we had a perfect season," recollects Amre.

"We got seven outright wins and took the title at a time when everyone had written us off," he adds, before explaining his goal for the season ahead.

"We have to make it to the final at least," says Amre, adding, "Nothing else is expected from a team like Mumbai.

"Else the first person who will have to face the questions is the coach (and that is me)."


Image: Praveen Amre

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