Mhambrey: 'Neutral venues, a good move by BCCI'

"Matches finishing inside two days on doctored surfaces weren’t helping anyone. Last year was chaotic. It is good move on the part of BCCI to play matches in neutral venues," said Paras Mhambrey.

paras mhambrey

Paras Mhambrey is happy that some of the cricketers he coached in the India A team have made it to the senior squad.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The summer of 96 was significant as it opened a new era in Indian cricket. It was on the second Test of the series against England at Lord’s when Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly made their Test debuts. The duo went on to join the pantheon of cricketing greats.

But in the first Test at Birmingham a gawky youngster from Mumbai, Paras Mhambrey, made a quiet debut. He also played in the Lord’s Test but was never picked again for Tests matches and two years later his international career was over.

Two decades later, Mhambrey is a respected coach in domestic cricket. Coaching, for him, was the natural progression and it was something he has enjoyed doing.

"I was into coaching even when I was playing. I was coaching kids at National Defence Academy so when I stopped playing in 2003, coaching was the natural choice," he said.

The 44-year-old Mhambrey guided Vidarbha to its second appearance in the Ranji Trophy knock out stage. Before that, he coached Bengal to its first Ranji Trophy title in 16 years. Then he quit first-class coaching to join the coaching staff of Mumbai Indians for four years.

"I wanted to be part of Mumbai Indians set up to learn more about the T20 format as it was a new challenge for me. The four years I spent with Mumbai Indians helped me a lot to understand the game and the format," he said.

Mhambrey also had stints with the India A team as bowling coach. He says working with a great cricketer like Rahul Dravid was a good experience. "I spent many fruitful hours speaking to him about cricket. It was an education. He is one of the keen observers of the game. Of course he is reserved so you have to dig out information from him," said Mhambrey.

Mhambrey is happy that some of the cricketers he coached in the India A team have made it to the senior squad. "It is great that the likes of Manish (Pandey), Kedar Jhadav are playing for the senior side now. It shows we have good bench strength. I am impressed with couple of youngsters who are coming through the ranks," he said.

The neutral venues for Ranji Trophy matches has found a staunch supporter in Mhambrey as he says doctored pitches were destroying careers of good cricketers.

"Matches finishing inside two days on doctored surfaces weren’t helping anyone. Last year was chaotic. It is good move on the part of BCCI to play matches in neutral venues. Playing away in unfamiliar conditions is a challange and for cricketers it is learning curve. As professionals cricketers should be prepared for travel as it is part of the game," he said.

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