Cricket

Precise preparation, stunning success

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Ajinkya, in Marathi, means invincible. Well, not always has this Mumbai batsman emerged unconquered but he won the world when it mattered, at Lord’s.

With a stunning century, Rahane signified the success of a process set in motion under Pravin Amre, his coach and mentor.

“We just concentrated on how to survive in the hostile conditions. It was not about bounce but seam and swing. How to meet the ball, the point of impact was crucial, how far away from the stance when tackling the seaming or swinging delivery,” says Amre of the eight days of precise preparation ahead of the tour. The indoor training in Mumbai centred round technical requirements. Rahane’s back and across movement, basic but strongly recommended, dictated the point of impact. Obviously there’s nothing like picking the line early but the entire sequence — grip, stance, pick-up, down-swing, impact-point and follow-through — demonstrated Rahane’s excellent preparation.

Rahane was told not to show “surprise” when negotiating the likes of James Anderson, a most crafty bowler in English conditions. He had overcome the challenge of extra bounce in South Africa but the seam and swing of England was different.

“He covered the swing very well, always looking to middle the ball,” says Amre.

Interesting plan

There is an interesting action-reaction plan devised by Amre, who has mentored Naman Ojha, Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa and Rahane personally.

“Temperament and technical excellence is action. The runs that accrue are reaction. It is a process. All my students are adept at batting in any position. All they need is space to grow.”

In Amre’s opinion, Rahane is best suited at No. 3 because he has the shots, like Ricky Ponting, to dominate early in the innings.

In just his seventh Test, Rahane has already achieved what Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar never did in their illustrious careers. A Test century at Lord’s! But it’s still only a partially lived dream. “Wait for greater deeds,” says Amre.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 4:48:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/precise-preparation-stunning-success/article6226816.ece

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