Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Amol Muzumdar, Vinod Kambli, Wasim Jaffer are some of the players produced by Mumbai over the years. Currently, players such as Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma are carrying the legacy of Mumbai and Indian cricket forward. Mumbai has been the powerhouse of India’s domestic cricket and has won the Ranji Trophy record 41 times. Mumbai cricket is as tough as it gets and whoever excels for Mumbai has more often than not go on to have a long and distinguished career for India. Cricket is treated like a religion in India and every kid who holds a bat wants to become Sachin Tendulkar. But, in a land of 1.25 billion people, it’s just not possible.
Many viewers and cricket enthusiasts of the current era might not have heard of a player called Pravin Amre. Amre was your typical Mumbai player, who caught the attention of everyone with his power-packed stroke play and his typical ‘Khadoos’ attitude. Amre made his Test debut in one of the toughest places a player can make his debut i.e. South Africa and scored a Test century on debut against the likes of Allan Donald, Brian McMillan, Meyrick Pringle, who were bowling with lot of venom and also scoring runs at Kingsmead, Durban was not an easy task. Amre showed grit and determination during the innings and, apart from Virender Sehwag, who also made a century on debut in the rainbow city not many players have excelled in South Africa in their career let alone scoring a ton on debut.
Indian cricket is obsessed with records, but unfortunately for Amre, the century at Durban could not kick start his career as he only played 11 Test matches and 37 ODIs, and before he could believe it, his career was over right before his eyes. Many experts believe that Amre was treated harshly and was dropped too early and if given a long rope he could have cemented his place in the team. Amre, like many other players, toiled in domestic cricket and scored truckloads of runs, but that elusive recall never came and likes of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman made their debuts during the same time. Amre could not regain his spot in the Test team. Amre went on to play 86 first-class matches scoring close to 6,000 runs at an average of close to 50 and became a big and powerful player for Mumbai.
Amre would be remembered by his fans as a domestic giant, who could not have a long career for India, but not many people have scored century at Durban on their debut. Unfortunately for Amre that hundred will remain his lasting memory and he could count himself extremely unlucky that either he was a victim of circumstances or it was a case of plain bad luck.