In cricket, a coach seldom steals the show when his side wins the championship, but Chandrakant Pandit’s reputation and history make him the centre of attention whenever his team succeeds. It occurred for the sixth time in the Ranji Trophy on Sunday.
Pandit led Mumbai (three times), Vidarbha (twice), and Madhya Pradesh to their first-ever first-class victories in the Ranji Trophy. They beat Mumbai in Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium by six wickets.
Could Not Work Under A Foreign Coach: Chandrakant Pandit
Pandit has never been connected with an Indian Premier League team, despite his impressive stats as a coach on the domestic circuit. Does the former India wicketkeeper-batter find it annoying?
“Agar phone karunga, toh kuch mil jayega par who mera style kabi thaa nahi (If I call (any IPL teams), I will get something but that’s not my style),” he had told PTI.
He remembered setting up a meeting at Shah Rukh Khan’s house before the 2012 season with the main owner of KKR.
“I met Mr Shah Rukh Khan back then but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to work under a foreign coach,” he had said on that day.
This Trophy Is Special: Chandrakant Pandit
He will not be given consideration for any national team coaching position because he is above 60 years old. Pandit, though, seems unfazed.
“Every trophy gives satisfaction but this one is special. I couldn’t do it as an MP captain years back (23 years). All these years, I have always felt that I had left something back over here. That’s the reason I am a bit more excited and emotional about it,” a visibly exhausted Pandit said after his latest Ranji Trophy triumph.
As a player, Pandit has experienced disappointment; his best Test score of 39 was scored in the infamous drawn Test match against Australia at Chepauk.
Then, in the 1987 World Cup semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium against England, he was perfectly poised on 24, but India lost the match. Or the heartbreaking one-run loss to Haryana, captained by Kapil Dev, in the Ranji Trophy final.
But the Ranji final for MP in 1999, when Karnataka won and he was on his hands and knees crying uncontrollably, was what had devastated him the most. He had lost his final game as a professional.