Chandrakant Pandit had some unfinished business at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Back in the 1998-99 season, leading Madhya Pradesh, he watched his team fritter away a winning chance in the Ranji Trophy final against host Karnataka. Batter Vijay Bharadwaj used his part-time off-spin to unsettle Pandit’s men and it was a defeat that rankled him all along.

Cut to the present, as coach of Madhya Pradesh, he made amends as his wards won their maiden Ranji title while hoodwinking Mumbai in the latest final that concluded at the same venue here on Sunday. Interestingly Bharadwaj was present at the ground while Pandit charted a fresh path. “I had lost the match back then and I always felt that I had to give something back to the State. I am happy that we won,” Pandit said at the post-match press conference while sitting next to him, winning captain Aditya Shrivastava quipped that he wanted his coach to smile more. “He is intense but I want him to celebrate,” Shrivastava said and Pandit chipped in: “But only for a day!”



Pandit was quick to point out the hard work put in by the players and the encouragement gleaned from the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. “Every season I see it as a mission and that’s how I stay motivated,” Pandit said while Shrivastava stressed that he was confident about his team’s prospects right from the beginning.

‘Every season I see it as a mission and that’s how I stay motivated.’ - Chandrakant Pandit

“We all made sacrifices, prioritising the cricket calendar over our personal lives,” he said and Pandit added: “He didn’t even get time for his honeymoon!”

PODCAST | The Hindu's sports editor, KC Vijaya Kumar joins Sportstar's Ayan Acharya in analysing the Ranji Trophy final, Chandrakant Pandit's legacy and more


While Pandit and Shrivastava exuded delight and satisfaction, prior to their address to the media, Mumbai’s coach Amol Muzumdar congratulated the winning squad and added that his young unit has the right talent and should do well in the future. “I am excited by the prospects within the team,” Muzumdar said and regretted the one off-day his players had during the Ranji final. “In our earlier games we didn’t have to take the second new-ball, we got regular wickets but here during the third day we couldn’t and that affected us,” he said besides lauding the character revealed by Sarfaraz Khan and the touch-batsmanship displayed by Rajat Patidar.

“I enjoyed his batting, I mean not enjoy as in enjoy,” he said obviously becoming conscious of him being a rival coach and then grinned and added: “He was good to watch.”