Chandrakant Pandit, one of the most successful coaches in domestic cricket, will now coach Madhya Pradesh in the coming season after three years with Vidarbha. Under Pandit’s tenure, Vidarbha won Ranji Trophy twice and also triumphed in the Irani Trophy.
He has played for Madhya Pradesh as a professional player in the 90’s. The former India wicketkeeper-batsman Pandit had earlier coached Mumbai and Kerala. Pandit confirmed the news and talked about how the former India wicketkeeper Kiran More helped him in moving to the new role with MP.
“I have decided to move on. I don’t want to be in a place more than three years. My friend Kiran More knew that I won’t be continuing for Vidarbha from this season onwards. He told MP about it and they offered a coach job which I accepted for two years,” Pandit told The Indian Express.
Pandit known for his old-school-taskmaster coaching style has made it clear to MP that he will lead a restructuring of their team and the association has given him the free hand to execute his plans.
“I have told them my expectations and how I want to go about it. MP is similar to Vidarbha. When I took job of Vidarbha they too were trying to make a mark in domestic cricket. Twice we won Ranji Trophy though this season things didn’t go as we expected. MP has a young team and it will be great motivation to work forward,” Pandit added, who currently is in lockdown in his village in Ratnagiri due to the novel coronavirus.
“The boys are good and it’s just following the right process. I like to coach young motivated boys, give them the goals and direct them on how to achieve those goals. When I took on Vidarbha nobody expected that we will win Ranji Trophy and that too twice back-to-back years. Credit should also go to cricket association in Vidarbha and to former player Prashant Vaidya, who is in the association, for showing trust in me.”
Pandit has built a reputation for being a coach who is a taskmaster and ticks all the right boxes: strategy, discipline, old-school work ethic, unorthodox methods to get the best out of players. Those in the domestic circuit know that the only potential downside of Pandit is that some players might not like his hardstyle initially and it might lead to a few disagreements.
As long as the association and players are ready for such an approach, he usually leads them to success. Some of Pandit’s methods are the same irrespective of the teams. Like he did with Mumbai, he also formed various player-led committees for Vidarbha to take care of entertainment, food, fitness, travel— players were deputed to take ownership and it helped in the bonding process.
More coaches seek switch
More state associations will be searching for new coaches. Vidarbha for starters has to find a replacement for Pandit. MCA will also be looking to move on from Vinayak Samant and hunt for a new coach. Sanath Kumar, a very successful domestic coach with a good track record across teams, has informed the Baroada Cricket Association (BCA) last season that he won’t be continuing due to health issues. Last season during Ranji Trophy game, Sanath had suffered a heart attack and rushed to the hospital.