Vidarbha looks to groom youngsters after Ranji success

After shifting from Mumbai this season, coach Chandrakant Pandit has changed the face of Vidarbha cricket and now, he is aiming to develop a talent pool for the team.

Chandrakant Pandit gave the credit to the players for putting the hard work.   -  Prashant Nakwe

The entire cricketing fraternity may have gone gaga over Vidarbha’s historic win in the Ranji Trophy final. For coach Chandrakant Pandit, this victory means a lot more. After shifting from Mumbai this season, Pandit has changed the face of Vidarbha cricket and now, he is aiming to develop a talent pool for the team.

Excerpts…

On the unity in the team…

When you don’t do well, people say there is no unity in the side. That’s not the case. Support staff is equally helping. Bowling coach Subroto Banerjee has been of great support. See the performance of fast bowlers — especially Gurbani — that has helped. Jaffer, Satish have been role models for the team. Today, youngsters like Wadkar have performed because players like Faiz have passed on positive energy in the dressing room. We are grooming them also. We have been talking to Prashant regularly about team combination.

I also thank the VCA for allowing three young players to travel with the team. They can share the dressing room. Look at Aditya Thakare. I was not too convinced initially but (VCA vice-president) Prashant (Vaidya) convinced me to play him in the final. I was thinking whether VCA will make or break him. But the U-19 boy is now a part of history and he will always remember it.

On how a similar thing had happened with Prithvi Shaw when Pandit was the Mumbai coach…

Same thing happened with Prithvi Shaw last season. Milind Rege, the then selection committee chairman of Mumbai did the same thing (convince me) like Prashant did. That clicked, so I thought even this would click.

On the road ahead for Vidarbha cricket…

I would look at it the other way. I have always been thinking about the achievement. Everybody wants to win the title, but I think, this win will not only change the team, it will also have an impact on the youngsters. The players of 14 or 16 years of age can also raise their hands and say that I can win. That’s the kind of culture I would be happy to build in Vidarbha.

What has worked for the team?

We have been following our routine and that’s the best part. All credit goes to the players as they have put in the hard work. I am very happy with the way they have respected me. The players never ignored the system we followed. That is one of the major things. The team is together, they have started enjoying the sessions. We stayed together all the time and there were certain kinds of activities in the team. That’s a fantastic thing.

With the T20 tournament coming up, will the players be allowed to celebrate Ranji Trophy success?

They deserve to celebrate. They were waiting for this particular day. Each and every player, the captain must be excited to celebrate and they should. There is no restriction. The VCA chief has also told me that I should not restrict them from celebrating. They can do whatever they want. They have worked hard and Prashant (Vaidya) has been a big support to us. I am thankful to both of them. They have supported us in all the ways. The groundsmen at the VCA also played a great role because without them we cannot perform. The way they have been preparing the pitches, they have given us nets every time we asked. They also deserve to celebrate.