Chandrakant Pandit, Bengaluru and Ranji Trophy final. It seemed as if the cricketing Gods had aligned everything for the ex-India wicket keeper-turned-coach to clinch something which had been missed 23 years ago: a Ranji Trophy title with Madhya Pradesh.
In 1998/99 finale, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Pandit, then Madhya Pradesh captain, was left to see Ranji Trophy go away from him as Vijay Bharadwaj’s part-time off-spin gave Karnataka six second-innings wickets and most importantly, a victory in the home final.
Cut to 2022, now as a head coach of the very side he captained once, Pandit tasted success as Madhya Pradesh defeated Mumbai by six wickets to win their first-ever Ranji Trophy title.
“Every trophy gives you satisfaction. But this is a little special because 23 years ago, I had been a captain and could not do it (then). But I am very, very proud about Aditya that he has done it. I always felt that I had left something back to Madhya Pradesh and that was one of the reasons that I was a little more excited and emotional about it to get that trophy back to Madhya Pradesh,” said Pandit in the post-match press conference.
Sitting to his left was captain Aditya Shrivastava, who was quick in saying that the side had the belief in winning the Ranji Trophy in the preparation for the tournament despite the format being tweaked due to Covid-19.
“From the very first day we started playing and from the pre-seasons camp we had been doing, not only from this squad, we had a pool of 40-odd players that were working together from morning to evening continuously every day with only Sundays being off. We were rigorously going on to it, so if you put that amount of work, the belief automatically starts coming into the play.”
Shrivastava credits Madhya Pradesh’s tournament opener against Gujarat for multiplying the belief of the side along with Pandit being the guiding force. “The day we entered for this Ranji Trophy to play against Gujarat in Rajkot, we as a group had that belief and that was the game, we turned it around (winning by 106 runs after conceding a lead of 57 runs). The belief grew manifold into us and sir was around.”
“Whenever we were crumbling or had a tricky situation in the game, his words of wisdom and the intensity, energy, ideas he brings to the table, the entire group acknowledged it really well and we just kept on doing the processes right.”
Shrivastava remarked that he wanted Pandit to smile a bit more after winning the trophy. “The first thing we will ask him obviously is to laugh out loud because he is a person at work, literally at any given time in day or night, any of the boys is eager for information or has issues with the game, he is always ready to help them.”
“He’s a person who’s all the time at the work, with full intensity. First of all, we will ask him to enjoy with the squad for today.” Pat came Pandit’s reply, “For the day only.”
(Inputs from IANS)