Equipped with over 200 files on players, Chandrakant Pandit scripts MP's success

More importantly, the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association now has a data bank comprising more than 200 files with minute details of players from the core group.

Published: 02nd July 2022 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2022 02:38 PM   |  A+A-

Chandrakant Pandit (R) with MP captain Aditya Shrivastava | PTI

Chandrakant Pandit (R) with MP captain Aditya Shrivastava | PTI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: DURING his association of a little more than a couple of years — two years and three months to be precise — with Madhya Pradesh, coach Chandrakant Pandit has changed the history of the sport in the state. He had not only coached them to glory as his wards recently won their maiden Ranji Trophy defeating 41-time champions Mumbai but also put in place a system, which if followed, will keep producing positive results in years to come.

More importantly, the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) now has a data bank comprising more than 200 files with minute details of players from the core group. "Thanks to all my support staff and coaches (as they helped me in preparing these dossiers on players). They are now well aware of the system. Sanjay Jagdale Cricket Academy in Indore is now maintaining these records," Pandit told this daily.

Soon after he took over as the coach, the former India cricketer started collecting every detail of the players selected in the core group. Ahead of the season, he along with selectors had identified a pool of around 70-75 players. Pandit not only worked with them on the field but also maintained a file of each of them by collecting information and carefully recording it for future reference.

"It (file) has everything about a player. His mental aspect, his family background, and what are his strengths and shortcomings, (all) that are being maintained at the academy. One thing the MPCA has done well is it has invited coaches from all districts and educated them about the system which has been developed. It will take time but it will definitely bring positive results in the future. I am sure it will help in maintaining uniformity in all aspects," hoped Pandit.

The most satisfying part for Pandit during his stint with MP is the team culture he has succeeded in building. And he didn't do that for a team comprising only senior Ranji players. His pool of players consisted of cricketers from various age groups (U-16, 19, and 23) apart from women players.

"We held more than 400 camps for around 150 players simultaneously at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. The idea was to develop a team culture. As I started, I got to know from a few women players and age-group cricketers that they haven't seen senior players like Ishwar Pandey and Rajat Patidar from close quarters yet. So when they were mixed up with these players, they were obviously quite happy and at the same time they felt confident when they played against them."

Speaking on bench strength, the coach said the system will ensure players from age-group sides keep graduating to the senior level.  "We have a pool of players as a lot of them have been identified. Of course, they have to be watched. This is what the association and selection committee have to look at. Around 70-75 players have been identified from all age groups."

Around 30-40 players from the core group also visited Infantry School in Mhow to work on their mental fitness during the season and Pandit strongly felt the sessions kept them in a good stride in difficult situations. "The instructors there in Mhow told them (players) how they deal with tough situations. Then we went around and saw how hard they work, and how difficult the practice sessions are. It helped to a great extent, especially during the semifinal and final where the team bounced back from difficult situations. We also have a psychologist working with players. Apart from that, we have motivational talks in regular intervals to lift the spirits of the players."

Pandit now holds the record of winning the Ranji Trophy six times as a coach. Earlier, Mumbai and Vidarbha had won the title thrice and twice respectively under his coaching. Given the achievement, he has also been termed 'Alex Ferguson of the Ranji Trophy. He, however, said there is no secret to his success. "It's a simple formula. It's nothing out of the box.

It's what my guru late Ramakant Achrekar and late Ashok Mankad inculcated in us. These are experiences I have gained from them. All the information and knowledge I got from them. I have been implementing them from time to time. Their methods were different. I learned to coach and develop players from Ramakant sir while chalking out strategies, making plans, and how manage the team came from Mankad sir. 

There are other aspects of the game which I learnt from Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, and others like Karsan Ghavri and Eknath Solkar. These are people who taught me how to tackle different situations. That has helped me a lot."

Even as the team is still in celebratory mode, the coach is expected to reach Indore in the next two-three days to prepare for the upcoming season. "We will not take much time to regroup. We will start camp as soon as possible. I will have discussions with the MPCA secretary Sanjeev Rao and other office-bearers. Expectations are high now and these players now have to pay for their reputations," signed off the couch.



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