“When we put that India jersey on, this is what we play for” – Amol Muzumdar

India is currently hosting South Africa for a multi-format series. In the one-off Test between India and South Africa at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Chennai, after India achieved a historic milestone by posting their highest-ever total of 603/6d(declared) in their innings, South Africa showed some fight on day 2, reaching 236/4.

"When we put that India jersey on, this is what we play for" - Amol Muzumdar
“When we put that India jersey on, this is what we play for” – Amol Muzumdar

However, on day 3, South Africa were bowled out for 266 in their first innings, with Marizanne Kapp top scoring with 74 runs off 141 balls, Nadine de Klerk contributed 39 runs, while Sneh Rana was the standout bowler for India, claiming an impressive 8 wickets for 77 runs in 25.3 overs in the first innings of the match.

In their follow-on innings with a trail of 337 runs, South Africa showed resilience, with captain Laura Wolvaardt anchoring the innings with an unbeaten 93 off 252 balls and Sune Luus scoring a valuable 109 off 203 balls before getting dismissed in the 74th over by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur. At the end of day three, South Africa’s second innings stood at 232 for 2, still trailing by 105 runs, with Kapp and Wolvaardt at the crease. For India, Deepti Sharma and Harmanpreet Kaur picked up one wicket each, leaving the match intriguingly poised.

Following day 3 of the Test, the Indian head coach Amol Muzumdar addressed a press conference at Chennai’s M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.

ON SNEH RANA’S BOWLING AND THE MESSAGE TO HER:

Amol Muzumdar stated that the message to Sneh Rana has been clear since she won the Player of the Match against Australia. She participated in the Inter-Zonal tournament in April and attended a bowlers’ camp at the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru before the Test match. It’s evident that she understands her integral role within the team, and her impeccable timing in claiming key wickets, completing her 8-fer, during the morning session is nothing short of sensational. Her achievement in equalling a record for wickets is truly a fantastic moment, both for her personal career and for the Indian team as a whole.

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He said, “So, I think the message is very clear to her that she is an integral part of this team, and she delivered at the right time in the morning. To pick up eight wickets is a sensational performance.”

ON THE TEAM’S EFFORT AND ENDURANCE IN CHENNAI’S CONDITIONS:

Amol Muzumdar described that despite the hot and humid weather, they have bowled tirelessly, with nearly 160 overs collectively over the past two days—77 overs or 72 yesterday (day 2) and about 98 overs today (day 3). The effort has been remarkable, considering the conditions. While acknowledging some dropped catches as part of the game, the team remains optimistic about the crucial first session on the fourth day, eager and prepared to continue their performance.

He said, “I think we are looking forward to the fourth day, so maybe the first session tomorrow is a crucial one and they are all raring to go.”

ON JEMIMAH RODRIGUES’ FITNESS STATUS:

Amol Muzumdar clarified on Jemimah Rodrigues’ fitness status, stating that she experienced cramps after the first innings but is currently doing well. As a precautionary measure, she was given rest in the dressing room to recover from the discomfort caused by the cramps.

He said, “Yeah, she’s fine. No, she’s fine. She just was having some cramps since morning after the end of the first innings, so we thought that let her rest. Because of the cramps, she was in the dressing room. She’s fine now.”

ON WATCHING THE HISTORIC 2024 ICC MEN’S T20 WORLD CUP FINAL:

Amol Muzumdar stated that he was comfortably in bed by 10 PM, as he mentioned with a laugh. However, he did manage to catch the historic final. He acknowledged it as a significant moment for Indian cricket and speculated that players were likely glued to their screens as well. Such memorable occasions, he noted, are rare, and he believed it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who watched.

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He expressed, “I watched the finals, of course; it was a historical moment for Indian cricket. Those kinds of days don’t come that often, and everyone enjoyed it, I think. What a game it was.”

ON PLAN FOR TOMORROW (Day 4):

Amol Muzumdar highlighted that the team’s focus lies on the upcoming morning session.

He said, “We are focusing on tomorrow’s morning session; that’s it.”

ON THE TEST MATCH SO FAR & FOCUS AHEAD:

Amol Muzumdar reflected on the South Africa Test and looking ahead, the focus remains on acknowledging the efforts made by both teams. While crediting South Africa for their excellent batting performance, the emphasis is on the Indian team’s dedication in bowling and fielding, which contributed significantly to the game. The team’s mindset has been clear—to prioritize their own game rather than solely focusing on the opposition’s performance. There’s a collective determination to uphold the pride of wearing the Indian jersey, driving them to work hard in every session of the match. As they prepare for the crucial first and second sessions ahead, there’s anticipation among everyone involved.

He stated, “We said that this is what we play for when we are playing when we put that India jersey on, this is what we play for. And I think we are up for the hard work that is in front of us. The first session and the second session would be crucial, and everyone is looking forward to it.”

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