Not so often in cricket, coaches draw attention after the team’s title-winning run but Chandrakant Pandit’s aura and legacy make him the center of attraction whenever his team goes all the way. On Sunday, it was the sixth time in the Ranji Trophy. After winning the Ranji Trophy in Mumbai (three) and Vidarbha (twice), Pandit gave Madhya Pradesh their first-class title. In a match at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium, they defeated the strongest Mumbai team by six wickets.
Despite his impressive numbers as a coach on the domestic circuit, Pandit has never been associated with the Indian Premier League franchise. Does it bother the former wicketkeeper-batter of India? “Agar phone karunga, tho kuch mil jayega per hoo mera style kabi tha nahi (if I call (for any IPL teams) I get something but it’s not my style,” he told PTI.
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He recalled how the meeting with KKR principal Shah Rukh Khan before the 2012 season was scheduled in a later mansion.
“I met Mr Shah Rukh Khan then but somehow I could not work under a foreign coach,” he said.
He is now 60 plus and will not be considered for any national team coaching assignment. But Pandit has no anxiety.
“Every trophy is satisfying. But it’s special. I couldn’t do that as an MP leader years ago (23 years). In all these years, I always feel that I have left something here. I feel a little more excited and emotional about it,” said Pandit. Said after the recent Ranji Trophy victory.
Pandit has had heart attacks as a player – his best Test knock of 39 came in the famous Tide Test against Australia at Chepauk. Later, he scored 24 in the World Cup semi-final against England at Wankhede Stadium in 1987, but India lost the match. Or a one-run loss to Kapil Dev against Haryana in the Ranji Trophy final.
But when he suffered horribly after losing to Karnataka in 1999, he was hurt in the Ranji final for the MP in 1999. It was his last professional game and he had missed it.
(With PTI inputs)