Months after helping Vidarbha register their second Ranji-Irani double on the trot, thus putting them on India’s cricket map, coach Chandrakant Pandit has decided to step down because of health reasons. The Indian Express has learnt that the former Mumbai wicket-keeper batsman wants to travel less and spend more time with his family. “He has decided to move on and take a break, and he wants to spend time with his family which is something he hasn’t done for past two years,” a source confirmed to this newspaper.
The 57-year-old had informed the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) top brass at the end of the season about his decision. However, the VCA members persuaded him to take his time and have a rethink. But he didn’t change his mind and is expected to convey his final decision to the board on Friday. “He had already informed the VCA about this a long time back, and he will make the final announcement soon.”
A Mumbai stalwart, who has played five Tests for the national team, Pandit had moved from Mumbai to Vidarbha two years ago. It was during the wedding of former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar’s daughter that VCA president Prashant Vaidya convinced him to take the job, a move that changed the course of Vidarbha’s cricketing history.
Pandit, even during his days as Mumbai coach, had held the reputation for being a steadfast, diligent coach, who ticked all the right boxes. A smart man manager, an astute analyst and a disciplinarian, he blended his old-fashioned work ethics with unorthodox methods to extract the best out of his players. Under him, a brigade of youngsters flourished, while some of the older players found a second wind. Pandit ushered in the most prosperous season in Vidarbha’s history—winning their maiden Ranji Trophy in 2018 before replicating the feat this year. A terrific achievement for a team with hardly any notable players, barring Umesh Yadav and Wasim Jaffer.
He was the reason behind Jaffer’s comeback. The former Indian opener had hit a rough patch in the 2017-18 season and was thinking of retiring. But he convinced him not to and the veteran went on to score more than 1000 runs this term.
After Vidarbha won the Ranji Trophy in 2018, skipper Faiz Fazal had opened up about Pandit’s style. “He is stubborn for sure. Stubbornness is needed because it’s good for us. We are a developing team and you need such a kind of person,” Fazal said about Pandit. “His work ethics, the discipline he brings to the table, he will make you do things. If people follow his rules, they develop faster. We have seen it in our team. His diary writing has also been really good for us – to correct our mistakes and continue the good things.”