How Durban centurion Pravin Amre prepared Ajinkya Rahane for big test
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It was probably only the second rash shot he had played all day. There had been a flash outside the off-stump in the third over after lunch. Ajinkya Rahane had admonished himself duly after that slip-up. This time he tried to swat a length ball across the line from Vernon Philander. On another day the ball could easily have just soared over the stumps.
Agonizingly for India's No.6 it clipped the top of leg-stump hard enough to topple the bail over leaving Rahane crestfallen and four runs short of a deserved maiden Test ton. As he shut his eyes and threw back the head in despair, even the South African players, including Jacques Kallis, came forward to console the young Indian batsman.
Some thousand miles away in a different time-zone, Pravin Amre sat in front of his television equally aghast, if not slightly cross. Rahane had just narrowly missed out on joining him on the honours board at Kingsmead. Amre had entered his name there in grand fashion with a gutsy ton on Test debut back in 1992. Here, a fellow Mumbai middle-order batsman had walked out at No.6 - just like he had done 21 years ago - and handled a quality South African attack with similar composure and skill. Despite the disappointment, there was no dearth of admiration for Amre over his ward's performance-an average of 69.66 across the two Tests-especially considering the hard-work mentor and pupil had put in prior to the tour. And while most of the work done during those sessions was technical, there were also a few mental notes that had been passed on.
"We began with slight change in back lift. When you play bounce there is less reaction time. Before we began training I told him that if you need to score in South Africa than you have to take blows, I too have taken blows and then only runs will come there," said Amre.