Vidharba coach Chandrakant Pandit is over the moon after Vidharba reached the Ranji Trophy finals for the very first time ever. Rajneesh Gurani came up with an impressive spell in the second innings to stop Karnakata just 5 runs short of the target leading to a series of celebrations in the Vidharba camp.
It was the latest achievement in a hugely successful coaching career that has seen him thrive with several different teams. Pandit coached Mumbai to successive Ranji Trophy wins in 2002-03 and 2003-04. In his second stint with them, Mumbai under Pandit lifted the Ranji Trophy for the 41st time in 2015-16 and made the final the following year. Pandit has likewise had success as player-cum-coach with Madhya Pradesh, and more recently as director of the Kerala Cricket Academy, where he was responsible for bringing up new players such as Sanju Samson and Basil Thampi.
"From day one, we were dreaming of this, and thanks to God and the players' efforts, we are there. Cricket is not played from inside, from the boundary lines. Whatever we spoke and planned, they were keen to execute it. The courage they showed to fight, I think that was very important. Every individual has understood that. We are not celebrating; we are just expressing our joy at the way the team is playing. My team has played the toughest cricket in the entire season” said coach Pandit.
"It was a 50-50 game," Pandit said. "In such a game, whoever shows desperation is going to lose and whoever shows patience is going to win. Making each individual understand his role is very important in such a situation. The kind of spirit they showed was tremendous. Making history at this ground, of course, will always be remembered."
"When the ball left (Aravind's) the bat, it took me back to the shot Mahi [MS Dhoni] played in the 2011 World Cup and the silence that ensued until it crossed the boundary," Fazal, their captain, said. "I felt that silence when the edge was drawn. In such high-pressure situations, performing simple tasks becomes very difficult."
"It's not just about being mentally tough, but also mentally clear. People were mentally tough earlier also, but it's made a difference now because we're clear in our heads. Sometimes, you need someone to run behind you with a stick, but the results are there for you to see now” Fazal concluded.