Grit, guts and gumption personified Amarnath’s roller-coaster career, which began in 1969 and spanned two eventful decades. Mohinder Amarnath was cricket’s Frank Sinatra – the master of the comeback.
Mohinder Amarnath started his career as suspect against short-pitched fast bowling, and finished it as one of the finest and bravest players of pace. His defining season was 1982-83: coming back to the side after three years, he stood tall to knock off 1182 runs – including five hundreds – in 11 away Tests against West Indies and Pakistan. He crowned the season with back-to-back Man of the Match awards at the climax of India’s World Cup-winning campaign in 1983. But his world came crashing down again the following home season, when he managed only one run in six innings against that same West Indian team. “Mr Amarnought” got the axe. But it wasn’t the end: he bounced back with renewed force and vigour and was soon hooking fast bowlers off his eyebrows again. He didn’t go in for cheap runs – nine of his 11 Test centuries were scored overseas — and he collected his share of bruises.
Mohinder Amarnath will be remembered as a batsman who didn’t flinch in the face of fire. After retiring, Amarnath guided a fledgling Bangladesh side in the mid-90s but was dumped after they failed to qualify for the 1996 World Cup. He then had a short stint coaching Rajasthan in the Indian domestic competitions as well as a coaching assignment with the Moroccan cricket team.
Mohinder Amarnath turned down the India A job a few years ago and was one of the shortlisted four candidates for taking up the role of the Indian coach in 2005. Amarnath now keeps himself occupied with commentary assignments. In 2008, he was appointed consultant of the Bengal team after they were relegated to the Plate division in the Ranji Trophy.
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