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Ranji Trophy: Madhya Pradesh get a pandit in Chandu

After helping Vidarbha win successive Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, ace domestic cricket coach Chandrakant Pandit has decided to take over the reins of Madhya Pradesh, whom he represented in 1994.

The former India stumper will take charge as chief coach and director of the academy in Indore for the next two domestic seasons.

‘A familiar place’

“MP is a familiar place to me and those involved in the association know my nature and are well-versed with my coaching methods. So hopefully, that will help me,” Pandit told mid-day over the phone from his native Palvan in the Konkan region where he is stranded due to the nationwide lockdown.

Pandit is keen to make MP cricketers realise their rich cricketing history. “MP has a history of playing a good standard of cricket. They gave our country cricketers like Narendra Hirwani, Rajesh Chauhan and Amay Khurasiya. So, they have that cricketing culture. It is a matter of rebuilding that culture, which will be a challenge for me,” said Pandit, who has 8,209 first-class runs and 322 dismissals under his belt.

Pandit, 58, also had an offer to join Baroda. “Baroda too had approached me, but MP had enquired with me well before them. Since I was in talks with MP already, I decided to go ahead with them,” Pandit said.

Vidarbha connection

Defending champions Vidarbha failed to qualify for the Ranji Trophy knockouts this time. When asked how tough it was to leave Vidarbha after three years, Pandit said: “Vidarbha players, officials and especially Prashant Vaidya [ex-India pacer and current VCA vice-president] supported me throughout. There is an emotional attachment with them. I just want these players to continue doing what I taught them.”

Known to be a taskmaster, Pandit wants his new team to take the field every time with a winning mindset. “When you are playing a Ranji Trophy game, as a coach or as a player, the only thing on your mind should be to win that match. That will be my target for every single game in the next season,” Pandit signed off.

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