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Amol Muzumdar talks to Nishad Pai Vaidya about taking up the post of Netherlands’ batting consultant.
Amol Muzumdar, the batsman who represented Mumbai with distinction for numerous years is turning a new page in his cricketing career, as he has been appointed the batting consultant of the Netherlands team. The right-hander played for Andhra Pradesh during their initial matches of the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 and is now ready to don the new role. He has played club cricket in the Netherlands since 2011 and was a player and coach for his side Quick Cricket Club. His success in those capacities paved the way for his appointment with the senior national team and is looking forward to working with them during the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifiers.
In an exclusive conversation with CricketCountry, Muzumdar talks about the opportunity, the experience of playing club cricket in the Netherlands and a lot more.
CricketCountry (CC): You have played club cricket in the Netherlands. What was that experience like and how did you take it up?
Amol Muzumdar (AM): In 2011, an opportunity to play club cricket in the Netherlands came my way. I spoke to my family and then decided that we could go there for the season. It was a challenge, as I had no idea where I was going. In the past, I have played in England, but I had no idea about Dutch cricket and what it was like. My club i.e. Quick Cricket Club was keen and welcomed me as a coach-cum-player when I went there. I had a very good stint with Quick CC in the Netherlands.
CC: In India, you have been a senior player and have guided players in that capacity. How different was it to become a coach as well and was it difficult to adjust to the dual role?
AM: The setup and infrastructure there was very good. Of course, every club has problems and we didn’t have a turf wicket there. Instead, we had an Astro-turf and I had to adjust to that. As a coach, I took on the responsibility of scheduling practice sessions, sorting them out etc. When you are just a player, you are in the zone of playing the game. Such responsibilities were taken care of by the coach. That was new to me and it took a while to adjust. Now as a player-cum-coach, I also had to take care of the practice sessions of the junior teams and attend them. It was a challenge. However, our under-19 team made us proud as they won us the national tournament after a gap of 60 years. That was a very good beginning and then they signed me for two more years. Then in 2013, we won the senior National Championship after 30 years.
CC: Was there a gap between those who had played for the Netherlands national team and the youngsters who emerged at your club? Who were some of the internationals in your side?
AM: We had a good blend of youth and experience. At the club, we would encourage the youngsters. In 2011, we started with that approach and many youngsters came through. There were numerous senior international players in the side. Edgar Schiferli, the captain was a fast-bowler for Netherlands for years. Henk Mol, another Netherlands international was also in the side. Wesley Barresi, the South African born wicket-keeper, is a good talent and is a part of the Netherlands side as well.
CC: How did the opportunity to become Netherlands’ batting consultant come about?
AM: From April to September, I was in the Netherlands as I was playing cricket then. I also did a bit of coaching work with KNCB, the cricket board there. Peter Drinnen was the coach of the main team and I worked with him. Whenever I was free from my club duties, I would help him with the international side and I was involved. They had approached me to join them for the T20 (T20) Qualifiers, but I couldn’t take it up then as I was still playing for Andhra Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy. Then, this opportunity came up for the World Cup Qualifiers and I took it up. Jeroen Smits, the former wicket-keeper asked me to join in.
CC: What is your vision as a batting consultant now that you would be in a full-time coaching position?
AM: It would be a different experience. But, I am confident of the abilities of the players as they are a talented bunch. They are determined to do well and I am looking forward to this tournament.
CC: A few Netherlands cricketers such as Bas Zuiderent and Alexie Kervezee have played county cricket. Netherlands do play the limited-overs competition in England. How much does that exposure help Dutch cricket?
AM: It is all about exposure. Netherlands do play the limited overs competition in county cricket. They play home and away games and that is important for the sport. It is important that they keep playing against strong oppositions as you can only improve that way. Every game you play against a good side, you can only learn a lot more. This is a very good initiative and I hope it goes on.
CC: When you have been away from cricket, we have seen you on television sharing your insights on cricket. Now that you have taken up coaching, is it something that can become your future?
AM: You cannot say that, ‘This will be my future.’ This was a great opportunity to work with an international side at a multination tournament. It was a great chance and I don’t know where it will take me. I am happy performing any role. I enjoy working with the media, if it is sharing my views or writing an article. I do enjoy sharing my knowledge.
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