FORMER Mumbai captain Amol Muzumdar has been appointed interim batting coach for the South African cricket team for the three Tests against India starting this month. Muzumdar replaces Dale Benkenstein, who stepped down after South Africa’s disappointing World Cup campaign.
“They approached me when I had applied for the Indian team’s batting coach’s job. They saw who was in the running (for the Indian team’s support staff). I had worked with them before for a brief period three years ago. I know the players very well, had worked with some of them when they had travelled to Mumbai,” Muzumdar told The Indian Express.
It perhaps started two years ago, during South Africa A’s tour to India, when their opener Aiden Markram had spent 10 days at the MIG ground, Bandra in Mumbai, learning the art of batting against the turning ball on brownish bare tracks.
Muzumdar, who scored most of his 11,000 first-class runs on slow and low tracks in India, gave him the “crease confidence” when facing quality spinners. “I had met Aiden in England a few months ago and was in touch with him too. I spoke to him a few days ago as well. I’m just looking for this opportunity,” Muzumdar pointed out. “At the moment, it is only for the Test series and they had asked about my availability as well. I sent a few things to them, there was no presentation. They went through the CV. They wanted somebody from India and specifically for this series,” he added. In recent times, Indian spinners have been sought after for consultancy positions, be it Sridharan Sriram with Australia or Sunil Joshi with Bangladesh. Now, it’s the turn of an Indian batsman; a commentator and batting coach at IPL’s Rajasthan Royals.
Cricket South Africa acting Director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl in a statement,said, “Amol is a perfect fit for us. He brings an intimate knowledge of Indian playing conditions and the challenges our batsmen are likely to face. He also assisted us at the spin bowling camp we held recently in India and thus has already built up a good working relationship with Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma and Zubayr Hamza.”