The top brass of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) is making a serious bid to sign celebrated domestic coach Chandrakant Pandit for the top job in the State senior cricket team from the next season onwards.
The Mission? To win the coveted Ranji Trophy, that Tamil Nadu has been desperately seeking to regain since it last triumphed in 1988.
Sportstar has learnt the TNCA is in touch with Pandit, who, incidentally, was roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as its head coach for the coming season.
Pandit could still be available for Tamil Nadu since the dates of the IPL and the Ranji Trophy do not clash. Unless KKR insists on Pandit guiding its teams in the South African and the Caribbean Twenty20 leagues, he should be free for the Ranji season.
The wily Pandit who played with limited success for India as a wicket-keeper batter and a specialist batter in the mid-1980s and early 1990s has made a name for himself as a strong coach who delivers results in domestic cricket.
And he does that with unheralded teams. He coached Vidarbha to back-to-back Ranji titles. And last season Pandit enabled Madhya Pradesh, against all odds, to triumph in the Ranji Trophy.
No wonder, he is called the ‘Miracle Man’ of Indian domestic cricket. His contract with Madhya Pradesh ends this season and it is the right time for Tamil Nadu to grab him.
However, someone like Pandit does not come cheap and the TNCA will have to loosen its purse strings considerably.
And Pandit is a battle hardened no-nonsense coach who would want total control of the team with no outside interference.
The good thing is Pandit would take over the Tamil Nadu team without any club or player loyalties that have, in the past, proved detrimental to the side.
And he does not tolerate any prima donnas in the team. All are equal, and all have a designated role to play. His clear role definition is an attribute that has given him a lot of success.
If he is signed by Tamil Nadu, he would come without any baggage of local divisions and politics.
Once he gets the sort of players he asks for, Pandit’s ability to inspire and motivate the cricketers are well known.
If Tamil Nadu is unsuccessful in getting Pandit, it could well continue with the present incumbent M. Venkataramana. After all, once the captaincy change happened, Tamil Nadu won both its last two matches of the Ranji league.
The coming days will be interesting.
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