Former Indian batsman Praveen Amre has been helping out Ajinkya Rahane to master the art of “employing baseball technique while batting” in a bid to help him generate more power from his strokes in the shortest format of the game.
Rahane has played an important role in the Rajasthan Royals team, where he has been using the textbook techniques under the mentorship of retired Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, however Amre’s ‘Out of the Box’ thinking has led to the batsman to try the new technique in a bid to ace the demands of T20 cricket.
Explaining the rationale behind using baseball hitting technique, he said: ”Australians developed throwing techniques from baseball to minimise the injuries. You need to throw the ball at a good pace and in quick time, and the right technique of throwing is important. So I thought why not implement the hitting technique of baseball. So I experimented and tried it myself.”
“T20 is a totally different format. I have trained him to generate power in his shots. It is crucial to perform with power in this format. In T20 power hitting matters. Instead of using just the arms and shoulders to strike the ball, I have told him to use his entire core to hit the ball,” Amre said.
Previously, Rahane under the tutelage of Amre worked on his technique to face the short ball ahead of the tour of South Africa in December, where he scored a brilliant 96 in the final game at Kingsmead, Durban.
Amre also said that he had worked with Rahane on the mental aspect of the game, wherein the 25-year-old was prepared for both opening the innings and playing down the order.
“For the last 3-4 days, we have been working. We have also worked on the mindset. How he will approach the game if he is opening, or what will be his mindset when he is batting lower down the order or when there is a six to be hit off the last ball. I won’t recommend this (baseball) technique for Tests and ODIs, but only for T20,” he said.
Rahane has been under the able guidance of Amre, for over six years now. “Rahane has been coming to me for the last six years. He is fine with the Test and ODI (games) and has been preparing this technique for the T20 World Cup,” Amre said.
Rahane is considered one of the rising stars of Indian cricket currently, as he put his sound technique on display in the recent tours, and also is flexible while batting at any position, something which was evident during the Champions League T20 in 2013.
“He can bat at any number. Champions League T20 is an important event and it is a tournament where the best players from all over the world participate. He got the golden bat in that and he opened the innings (for Rajasthan Royals) and consistently got the runs for his team.”
On Friday, the Indian team will leave for Bangladesh for the upcoming T20 World Cup, and the former Indian batsman felt that the return of Raina, Yuvraj and Dhoni will certainly boost the squad. Dhoni missed the recently concluded Asia Cup due to a back injury.
On his debut against South Africa in Durban, Amre had scored a Test century and according to him, the Indian team at present has many options in batting, which only helps the cause.
“It is a good position to be in as we have many options. One player may have to sit out and the team management will have to think on whom to play and to shuffle the batsmen.”
Amre was also of the opinion that spinners will have a huge say in the T20 World Cup due to the sub-continent conditions, while also stating that Amit Mishra will be a key bowler.
“Amit did very well in the last match (in Asia Cup). He gives a variety and there are very few quality leg spinners at the moment.”