Former India batsman Pravin Amre is here in a specialist capacity. No, he is not the coach of the Karnataka team. That job is being looked after by J. Arun Kumar.
On a unique assignment, Amre has travelled to the city as the ‘personal batting coach’ of Robin Uthappa. Amre was seen exchanging ideas with the dashing batsman during practice ahead of the Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu here on Thursday. The chemistry between the two was just right.
“Yes, he (Amre) is here to help me out. But I do not want to talk much about it at this stage,” said Uthappa to The Hindu . Amre flashed a charming smile but said little.
His six-month contract with Uthappa as professional batting coach which began in July this year would continue well into the current Ranji season. Amre is the assistant coach of IPL franchise Pune Warriors and it is here that he came into close contact with Uthappa.
Yet, a situation where a cricketer’s personal coach is seen giving inputs to a cricketer when the official team coach appointed by the association is in charge, can cause friction within the team. There can be a conflict of interest.
However, Arun was gracious. “He (Amre) is here as Robin’s personal coach. The two have been together for some time. I have been working with Robin too. It has not been interfering with my coaching.”
Former India batsman and coach Aunshuman Gaekwad said, “This is a personal thing between the personal coach and the team coach. The team coach should ensure that the line is not crossed. Any player is free to have his own coach. But, I think the personal coach should not come to the ground during practice. It would then give the impression that the team coach is being undermined.”
The 26-year-old Uthappa has 786 runs from 38 ODIs at 27.10, but his last game for India was in 2008. He has 5384 runs from 82 first class matches at 40.17, but these numbers can be far better. Uthappa’s attacking methods have seen him become a valuable player in the IPL and he did make a comeback into the Indian Twenty20 team. The Karnataka cricketer, though, is keen to excel in the game’s longer format.