BENGALURU: Carrying the weight of a defeat that hurt more than most for two decades, one could not fault Chandrakant Pandit for those moistened eyes since he folded his hands as a mark of respect towards the Mumbai dressing room.
Rajat Patidar’s match-winning single – the most important moment in the history of Madhya Pradesh cricket – completed a cycle for head coach Pandit, 23 years after his failure to win the state side’s maiden Ranji Trophy title as a player.
“Every trophy gives satisfaction, but this one is special. I could not do it as an MP captain years back. All these years, I have always felt that I had left something back over here (M Chinnaswamy Stadium). That is the reason I am a bit more excited and emotional about it,” a visibly exhausted Pandit said after his latest Ranji triumph.
Pandit and Aditya Shrivastava, by the former’s own admission, share a “special bond” which is beyond the professional coach-captain relationship.
“To reach the top, one has to make sacrifices. When Aditya was about to get married last year, he came to me and asked when would be a good time. I told him that I can only release him for festivities for a period of two days,” Pandit said, giving another glimpse of the no-nonsense hard taskmaster that he has been for years.
“I got married last year, but I have not taken even a 10-day vacation with my wife,” smiling young captain Shrivastava said. “I told them: ‘For success, you need to put in long hours of hard work’. It is like a mission,” the coach quipped.
Pandit was then grinning as he walked up to the ground staff and got his team to click a picture with them. “You people produced an excellent wicket (pitch) and this is special as it is the 100th first-class game at this venue,” Pandit told them. He is now 60 plus and won’t be considered for any national team assignment, but Pandit has no qualms.