It was indeed a historic moment for the Madhya Pradesh cricket team as they defeated 41-time champions Mumbai by 6 wickets in the Ranji trophy 2021-22 final to clinch their maiden title. But for their head coach, Chandrakant Pandit, it was an emotional moment that took him 23 years back in time, when he was the captain himself.
Back in the 1998-99 season, Pandit-led MP made it to the final and faced Karnataka at the same venue – M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. But unfortunately, they lost the game by 98 runs. Since then, Madhya Pradesh never made it to the finale until Pandit returned as a coach and inspired a young bunch of players to script history.
The historic win was fashioned by centuries from Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma and Rajat Patidar in the first innings and after Mumbai were all out for 269 in their second innings on day five, Sharma and Patidar helped them chase down 108 in 29.5 overs to make Sunday an unforgettable day for Madhya Pradesh.
After the historic victory, an emotional Pandit recalled the loss against Karnataka and stated that he had some unfinished business at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
“It’s a great memory which I left 23 years back on this ground. I think it’s all God’s blessings that we come back here and win this trophy which was fabulous,” MP head coach Chandrakant Pandit told Star Sports.
“It’s a bit emotional because missing out on this trophy when I was the captain of Madhya Pradesh on this very ground. Some say ‘father couldn’t do it but the son does it’, so Aditya Shrivastava has done it tremendously,” he added.
Before joining the MP cricket team as a coach, he had offers from other teams as well. But he chose this one in order to finish the job which was left back in 1998-99.
“I always look for challenging jobs when the team isn’t doing very well. There are a lot of youngsters in the team and I probably want to develop that culture for a particular state. Particularly about MP, I played for this team for almost 6 years. I knew the culture so didn’t turn down the offer that came to me in March.
“I had a couple of offers but decided to go back to Madhya Pradesh because I left something 23 years back and probably, God was willing to bring me back to the same state. And coincidentally, it happened; coming back to the Chinnaswamy Stadium and playing the finals,” he added.
Speaking about his way of coaching the MP team, he said, “Sometimes you feel that a lot of talent is there and they need to develop that cricketing culture. And whatever the game demands, I try to inculcate in them.”