Amol Muzumdar, India vs South Africa 2019, India vs South Africa, India, South Africa
Muzumdar’s contract expires after the three-match Test series which gets underway on October 2. @ IPL

South Africa named India’s domestic veteran Amol Muzumdar as their interim batting coach on Monday for the three-match Test series in India. The 44-year-old, who retired from first-class cricket in September 2014, informed CricketCountry that he was approached for the position by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and did not apply for the post.

“I have not applied for it, but they knew me through the Indian Premier League. I have also worked with a couple of players like Aiden Markram, Theunis de Bruyn, so I had a working relationship with them. They had asked for my availability for the Test series especially this one and I said yes,” Muzumdar, who was Rajasthan Royals’ batting coach this year, told CricketCountry immediately after the announcement was made.

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Muzumdar’s contract expires after the three-match Test series which ends on October 23. “For now, my contract is specifically for this series,” he said.

The Mumbai batsman, who holds high performance coaching certificates from the BCCI and Cricket Australia, has his hands full with South Africa being led by interim team director Enoch Nkwe, filling in the role after Cricket South Africa (CSA) chose not to renew the contract of West Indian coach Ottis Gibson. Muzumdar understands the situation and wants to keep his plans simple.

“As of now, I have not been given a brief. I was just waiting for the announcement. I will be joining the team soon and then I will be getting a brief from the team director. It’s always a challenge batting against India in India, so I’ll keep my plans pretty simple, will be nothing extravagant,” he said.

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Quizzed further on what areas on the batting front would he like to improve, Muzumdar said: “I’ll be able to tell you once I get into the groove, but as you know, batting in India is definitely a challenge.”

As far as batting is concerned, South Africa are left with a huge void to fill in after the retirement of Hashim Amla. The team is undergoing a transition with many stalwarts like Amla, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers earlier calling it quits from the game. Muzumdar chooses not to explore that narrative, but expects his batters to be focussed on the series at hand.

“Yea, Hashim Amla has been a great player for the Proteas and his contribution has been immense, but we cannot be thinking about it. We need to be thinking about the Test series that’s coming up and we would be focussing on that. I am thoroughly pumped up for this,” he said.

“Amol is a perfect fit for us,” said CSA Acting Director of Cricket Corrie van Zyl in a press release.

“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.”

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South Africa are scheduled to meet their country’s High Commissioner in the capital on Monday and are expected to arrive Dharamsala, venue for the first of the three-match Twenty20 International series, on September 9, six days before the match.

After the three T20Is which conclude on September 22, South Africa are scheduled to play three Tests in Visakhapatnam, Pune and Ranchi, starting on October 2 with the first match at Visakapatnam.