Coach Amre Lets Out Secret Of Shreyas’ Success: Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Poem

Amre read out Bachchan’s poem — ‘Man ka ho jaye toh achcha, nah ho toh aur bhi achcha’ to motivate Shreyas Iyer.
Different coaches employ different tactics to motivate their charge. Coach Pravin Amre on Friday revealed that he would read out a popular poem of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, father of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, to motivate Shreyas Iyer while he was awaiting his turn to play Test cricket.
Shreyas scored a strokeful century on Test debut against New Zealand at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur on Friday and became the 16th Indian to achieve that feat.
He resumed his innings on the second day of the match on the overnight score of 75 and completed his maiden century soon after. Watching the live action in Mumbai, Amre was naturally over the moon.
Shreyas Iyer celebrates his century during day two of the 1st Test against New Zealand at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur.
(Photo: BCCI)
Since his first-class debut in 2014-15, Shreyas has been scoring heavily in domestic tournaments, tallying 500-plus runs every season. Somehow though, he was unable to break into the Indian Test XI.
A ‘find’ of Amre, who himself had scored a century on Test debut in 1992, Shreyas, an India regular in the shorter formats, was losing patience while waiting for his Test cap.
“I did give my example to him (of having had to wait a long while for Test debut). I also recited Mr Harivanshrai Bachchan’s poem titled ‘Man ka ho jaye toh achcha, nah ho toh aur bhi achcha’. Shreyas felt that he should have got the chance much earlier, but I kept reminding him of Mr Bachchan’s poem to keep him motivated and to help him bide his time,” Amre told The Quint on Friday, after Shreyas became the 16th Indian to score a century on Test debut.
“I had read this poem somewhere. I liked it and noted it down in my diary. When I saw Shreyas was disappointed at not being selected for the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE, I read out this poem to him. Remember, he was not picked for the World Cup after his shoulder was injured during the ODI series against England in March and he was ruled out of action for a few months, and not for want of runs,” explained 53-year-old Amre.
Amre, a solid batsman from Mumbai who played 11 Tests in 1992 and 1993, reminded that both he and Ajinkya Rahane, his other ‘product’, had to wait for a long time to make their Test debuts.
“I had to go through the same waiting game. I was the 12th man for India in 14 Test matches before making my India debut [in 1992-93 against South Africa in Durban]. Even Ajinkya was in the Indian Test squad for 18 matches before making his debut. So, I know what one goes through while waiting for the big break. That’s why I could explain to Shreyas that the wait was worth it,” he explained.
“During the waiting period one has to control oneself, and do what is in one’s control. It is easy to talk about something, but doing that is difficult. One has to be mentally strong to go through that waiting phase, and Shreyas has shown in Kanpur that he is indeed a mentally strong cricketer,” he emphasised.
Turning a bit philosophical, Amre said Shreyas, 26, was destined to play now, and not earlier.
“If you think about it, it is all destiny. Had Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul been in the Indian team for this Test [they have been rested], Shreyas wouldn’t even have been the 12th man in Kanpur. A similar thing had happened to Ajinkya. After the Indian team was all out for 36 and lost the first day-night Test to Australia late last year, Ajinkya captained the team in Kohli’s absence and India won the four-Test series 2-1. No one can erase Ajinkya’s name, as a leader, from the Indian cricket history,” he said proudly.
Shreyas Iyer with his first Test cap.
(Photo: BCCI)
Referring to Shreyas’s superb 105 at No.5 (267 minutes, 171 balls, 13x4s, 2x6s) in Kanpur, former Mumbai captain Amre stressed: “It is not easy to do that when you get a [one-off] chance like that. Also, he scored his runs in Kanpur when India had lost three wickets pretty quickly [106/3].”
Shreyas, having received his Test cap from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, was the top-scorer of India’s first innings that folded up for 345 on the second day of the five-day match on Friday.
In his maiden domestic season in 2014-15, Shreyas had aggregated 809 runs in 10 matches at 50.52 with two centuries and six half-centuries. In the next season, he hit the purplest of purple patches and scored 1,321 runs in 11 matches at an average 73.38, with four centuries and seven half-centuries.
Only VVS Laxman had scored more runs in a single Ranji Trophy tournament – 1,415 at 108.84 in nine matches, with eight centuries – in 1999-2000.
“Even after scoring 1,300 runs in first-class matches, he didn’t get a chance for India. Now, after four years, he has a chance when the seniors like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been rested. He has grabbed the chance with both hands and scored a century,” Amre said.
It remains to be seen if Shreyas will be retained for the second Test in Mumbai when Kohli returns and captains the team.
Shreyas Iyer of India received his first Test cap from Sunil Gavaskar.
(Photo: BCCI)
When Shreyas was 12, Amre had taken him under his wing and coached him at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana Academy in Mumbai for five years. However, Amre says he didn’t curb his natural instinct to play shots and express himself. Shreyas’s progress was rapid and that was evident in the tall scores he built in domestic tournaments.
In 2016-17, Shreyas made 927 runs in 11 first-class matches at 54.52 with three centuries and two half-centuries and in 2017-18, he aggregated 511 in six matches at 56.77, studded with two tons and three half-centuries.
His consistent scoring spree continued in 2018-19, when he tallied 603 in eight matches at 43.07, with one century and three half-tons. But the India Test cap eluded him.
As they say, better late than never. Another way of looking at disappointments is the Harivansh Rai Bachchan way — ‘Man ka ho jaye toh achcha, nah ho toh aur bhi achcha’.
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