Pringle proves a huge hit in India

Alvin Reeves

FORMER South Africa and Eastern Province cricket star Meyrick Pringle has settled down well in India and has wasted no time in unearthing fast- bowling talent.

 Pringle, who went by the nickname the “King of Swing” at the height of his career, started his position as the director of coaching at the Jaipur Cricket Academy on March 1.

“The guys I coach here are super keen. Some of them arrive at 6am when training’s only at 4pm,” Pringle said.

“So they do their own throw- downs and they go to gym,” Pringle, who famously took four wickets for 11 runs in a masterful display of swing bowling against the West Indies in the World Cup in 1992, said.

“Most of the guys we get are raw talent from the villages surrounding Jaipur. One of them, a left-arm seamer, made his first-class debut for Rajasthan this week and took four wickets and the other, a right-armer, bowls at 140km/h-plus. So they have plenty of talent here, it’s just a question of harnessing it”.

The 45-year-old former star was recommended to Jaipur Cricket Academy owner Shamsher “Bobby” Singh by another former Proteas swing bowler, Fanie de Villiers.

“Edgemead Cricket Club in Cape Town hosted a function where Fanie de Villiers was the guest speaker. Afterwards, Fanie and I sat down and spoke about the old times. Later, he asked me if I would be interested in going to India. It was two days after he spoke to me that I got the call from India. I’ve signed for three years with an option to stay another two years and we’ll see how things go.”

For now, though, Pringle could not be happier. The academy has tripled in size and there are already plans to expand.

“We started with 20 kids and its grown to 60 already. We had to stop taking on children. That’s why we’re going to be building this new academy that’s about four times the size of the one we have now.

“We have five turf nets and three cement wickets but it’s just gotten too small,” he said.

“When this new academy is up next year, we’d like to branch it out to all IPL sides and touring teams for pre-season. It’s going to be a quality academy with three-star accommodation.”

And what of his time in India?

“It’s been an amazing experience so far. I thought I would battle here initially but I’ve adapted quite well. I got myself a Royal Enfield motorcycle, India’s version of the Harley Davidson. I’m scared of driving around here, so motorbike is the best way to go. I spend a lot time touring on that during my spare time.

“The people here are magnificent. You offer to pay for certain things and they just refuse. You are their guest and while you’re here, they will look after you.

 “They’ve put me in a very nice apartment and I don’t cook here, I eat in a hotel. I get on a bike and go have my meals at a hotel five minutes away.”

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