The art of coaching teams to Ranji Trophy titles, the Chandrakant Pandit way

Vidarbha scripted history by clinching their maiden Ranji Trophy title and one of the chief archietects of their success was Chandrakant Pandit. Firstpost caught up with Pandit at his Andheri residence in Mumbai to understand the art of coaching in domestic arena. Click here to read the full interview.

The art of coaching teams to Ranji Trophy titles, the Chandrakant Pandit way

There is an aura about Chandrakant Pandit which makes him a domestic giant. In his playing days, he was a prolific run-getter with over 8000 first-class runs and now he is prolific in accumulating trophies for domestic teams. Earlier this year, Vidarbha, the underdogs, scripted history by clinching their maiden Ranji Trophy title and one of the chief architects of their success was coach Pandit. The 56-year-old had earlier guided Mumbai to three Ranji titles. He's had a habit of resuscitating struggling teams. Firstpost caught up with Pandit at his Andheri residence in Mumbai to understand the art of coaching in domestic arena.

Vidarbha went in as underdogs, came back with a title. Does it seem surreal and has it sunk in?

Pandit: I think everyone must have been surprised because nobody thought Vidarbha would win the Ranji Trophy. You look at history; Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are the states which have always dominated Indian cricket. But in the last few years, there has been a change. Gujarat and Rajasthan have won, so that was the only motivation for us when I went and spoke to the entire team at the beginning of the season. The only line for me was, if Gujarat and Rajasthan can win, why not Vidarbha? Captain Faiz Fazal has mentioned in the media that this trophy is not gifted to us, this trophy is achieved by the team. The reason is, out of the nine  games, we won seven outright. Karnataka was a tremendous game. Nobody thought that Vidarbha is going to win against Karnataka that had experienced team, players and history behind them.  I remember when we were playing against Karnataka, a player sitting next to me said, "Sir, we have to pack up now." I just looked at him surprisingly, though I was very angry, I asked him why? He said, "Sir, we never get the opportunity to play semi-final and final. With 100-run lead, I don't think we can come back." This was indirectly a challenge to me as well. I could understand his thoughts because they never had that habit of winning. But coming from the culture where Mumbai has always had the habit of winning the Ranji Trophy even in the playing days, I never wanted to give up. So I told him, don't worry, we are going to win this game.

Vidarbha players celebrate with coach Chandrakant Pandit after winning the Ranji Trophy 2018. PTI

Vidarbha players celebrate with coach Chandrakant Pandit after winning the Ranji Trophy 2018. PTI

Throughout the season, what was the key to success?

Pandit: I remember when I had first meeting with them, I told them, see 28 states play to win, nobody can say who is going to win but what is more important is your process. I am not here to say that we have to win. I had to motivate them. The new generation the way they are playing, I think any team is beatable or any team can win the game. I have not changed anything, it's the same method which I had employed for Mumbai, Rajasthan, MP and now Vidarbha. I just thought about keeping them together because I always believe that cricket is played as a unit and that unit has to be together because the success and failures can be shared among the players. We had spent so much time with each other which was even surprising for individual players in the team. They were little surprised because initially, whenever I used to call them for a meeting or planning or practice sessions, they looked a little disappointed — why so many meetings? But I knew that by coming together, you are going to start thinking. I used to always keep telling them, we are here to win the trophy. Don't tell me that we will qualify. Qualifying is not your satisfaction, we have to win the trophy, which is what I started inculcating in them. At the same time, I started giving them match simulations and toughest of tasks in practice sessions. This was a very simple method and I don't think we had to do anything extraordinary to win the trophy. We had certain routines and systems in our team and the process was more important. After winning the first game, they realised that this process is going to help them. And slowly they started getting the self-belief which they were lacking. If we talk about Mumbai, the confidence and self-belief they have is because of their history.

How much time did it take for the winning feeling to sink in among the players?

After the Bengal game, they really started believing. They told me, whenever we played a bigger team, we used to always think of defence rather than going for a win. But here we realised that we are playing to win because as a coach I used to be always after them that this game has to be won. Jokingly, I used to always tell them anybody playing at the home ground is capable of winning; winning away is what matters. I never used to give them the credit when winning (at home). After beating Bengal in their backyard, they themselves said, sir we can win Ranji Trophy this season. I was getting good vibes from them and that has helped.

How different were the challenges of coaching an underdog in Vidarbha and a giant in Mumbai?

Pandit: The difference is the culture. Mumbai always had history behind them. When I was 19-20 and entered the Ranji Trophy, there was something for me to look up to. If I am sharing the dressing room with Sunil Gavaskar, Ashok Mankad, Sandeep Patil, Dilip Vengsarkar, Karsan Ghavri or Eknath Solkar — these are the people playing for India — that got me motivated. And the history itself was telling me you are here to play. Vidarbha never had that culture, or winning habit, or a role model apart from Prashant Vaidya. This was a big challenge because you had to lift not just the team but the individuals too. I had to delve deep and study about every individual character. I had to go back to their performances and family background, so I had to study every minute detail. That was really challenging. It was tough for them to see the new coach, suddenly there was a hard taskmaster and to follow him was very scary. That challenge was big. I must thank Prashant Vaidya who was the in charge of CADC (Cricket Advisory Development Committee), he supported me a lot. Whenever we wanted to make a team or combination, he always supported. I had gone through the history of 4-5 players, they had been playing for 8-9 years but without any performances. They used to get into the team on the back of 30s and 40s or may be two or three wickets. So I asked Prashant, whether you are looking at only winning or developing a team? For me, developing the team is a first then only you can get the results. There were 3-4 players whom I had to remove. There were a couple of players who were labelled as limited-overs players — Apoorv Wankhede and Akshay Karnewar. But I found that they had lot of talent, so why not try them?. There is no one who can prove that a particular player is suited for just a particular format. That support helped me a lot to get the team together. And that was a message to the players that anybody can go out and come in which developed a healthy competition after 2-3 games. Karnewar got 16 wickets in 3 matches but I still had to drop him in the fourth game which shocked everyone. Then Aditya Sarvate came in and performed magic in the Bengal match. We created that healthy competition. Every player was performance oriented.

Didn't it create insecurity within the team that nobody's place is safe now?

Pandit: Yes, all these years they were secure with their little performances. Now, they were made to realise that the player who is playing and performing for the team has the value. So now the message is already spread out.

Coaching Mumbai was a bit easier than Vidarbha because as you said they had the culture and history behind them and the players were motivated by that, but with Vidarbha it was tough. Right?

Pandit: You see the number of tournaments Mumbai is playing. Each and every player is playing in the domestic tournaments and getting the exposure. He is having the exposure to talk to Tendulkar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar or any other cricketer. Here Vidarbha players don't have that kind of exposure. They haven't got enough tournaments to play in so naturally you don't have that kind of exposure. So you always have the fear of failure as well as success, because you are pressurised to win the game. In Mumbai, the surrounding and environment is only cricket and they know once they enter the field, they have been asked to win the tournament. Anything below that means your season is a failure. Vidarbha have never gone through this. At Mumbai there was the pressure of winning the tournament and at Vidarbha, there was pressure of developing the team and getting the results. The pressure is always going to be there on the coach because if anything happens, it's the coach who is the first to be kicked out.

You won the trophy with Mumbai in 2015-16 then guided them to final in the next season, but still you were asked to leave. Then you went on to win with Vidarbha. Was it a kind of vindication?

Pandit: I think God probably wanted that. I have never stepped back in my job whether at Mumbai or Vidarbha. Of course it felt bad; I was with Mumbai for five years. I remember when I took up U-19 coaching, Mumbai won after three years. After we won two finals and lost in one semi-final then last two seasons we won one and ended up as runners-up. So it's been almost five years that I have been taking care of Mumbai. Of course they have always shown faith in me. But after showing so much faith, suddenly something like this happens. I don't think anybody would say that losing the final is coach's fault. It was very hard to take. The time when I heard that (they didn't want me) I could only laugh. I couldn't say anything about it because nobody knows the reason, not even me.

How different were the challenges of coaching the Mumbai team of 2000s and the 2015-17 teams?

Pandit: The players' mindset has changed. Today's generation is playing more shorter version of the game. We call it positive approach, but 15 years back also we had positive approach. This kind of approach is entirely different, they have may be too much of an aggressive attitude. When we were playing, we were never asked or permitted to play any lofted shots. Now today as a coach, I've got to accept it and probably I encourage them to play but which ball and bowler to target, that they have to decide and that, as a coach, I have to guide them. But I cannot put my foot down and say that you should not play this shot. I remember when I was playing school cricket, Ramakant Achrekar sir used to always back me for the sweep shot. He never stopped me. So I always remember that and I have to back them for their own shots. Improvisations have come into effect but I only allow them to play the reverse shots only when required. It was a change for a coach coming in after 15 years and handling the new generation.

I try to spend time with the captain every evening; suddenly call him just for the sake of calling and then discuss about next day's game. Just make him speak. AFP

"I try to spend time with the captain every evening; suddenly call him just for the sake of calling and then discuss about next day's game. Just make him speak." AFP

Don't you think that sometimes that Khadoos attitude needs to be there somewhere rather than just going aggressive?

Pandit: Of course. What is Khadoos attitude? It's Dilip Vengsarkar would not like to throw away his wicket after his hundred. That means there is no satisfaction. Sunil Gavaskar will not play one particular shot which he is not comfortable with. Ashok Mankad will keep on playing the whole day not employing improvisations or throwing his wicket away. Not giving up is the Khadoos attitude. Today, there are certain cricketers who are satisfied to score 50-60 runs and they throw their wicket away, or say I wanted to try out that particular shot. Here, 15 years back, probably nobody would say that. I remember one incident. We were playing against Bengal. Sunil Gavaskar was batting and he came in the dressing room and said, "I want to see you bat for two days, nobody will play any unwanted shot." I just heard that as a young player but I could see that each and every player was really following the instructions. But today, you tell them to play out this particular session and just 10-15 minutes before close, they will try and play some different shots and say, "Sir I thought I would get away with this." It is little difficult to handle the new generation unless you sit with them, communicate and convince them. Today, if you put a little harsh word in front of them, they would not like it. But 15 years back....I remember we were playing the finals against Haryana which we lost by one run, I played a bad shot and Dilip Vengsarkar, the way he spoke to me in the middle before I was heading back to the dressing room, I still remember that it was not on. I should not make that kind of mistake again. But today if you tell somebody that kind of thing, probably they will sulk, they will go back and show that they are not happy with the coach, show their disappointment, say  "I am not allowed to play my free game."

Another thing I have noticed is this generation gets diverted very quickly. They haven't got enough time to play the game. They will listen to you, go back but are suddenly on the mobile or WhatsApp where they get distracted and that is one of the reasons they are not able to focus.

How do you handle different egos inside the dressing room?

Pandit: Fortunately, as I mentioned, these (Vidarbha) boys are very obedient. I haven't seen any ego but I need to control them from getting distracted. We were playing the semi-final against Karnataka and on the night of 31 December, we had a team meeting in the dressing room. it was a very important day for us next day, winning it would have meant history. When I spoke to them, I realised that these young players are bound to go down in the evening to see what is happening and might get diverted from the game. I asked everyone to put the mobile phones in my room. It went from the senior Wasim Jaffer to the junior most players. They looked at me and said, "Sir we will sleep early, not to worry, we will not use phones." I said you are sleeping early so as it is you don't need mobiles, so keep it with me. But they are so obedient, they really followed that because they realised that the game is very important. I am harsh at times but at the same time I have to be very friendly. We have team activities in which we try to get together and make fun of each other. That is how the team is built.

You were talking about Vidarbha, but there might have been different personalities in the Mumbai dressing room also. In general, how do you handle different egos?

Pandit: Basically, you need to know the person. What sort of character he is. I have got a habit of observing that. We were having a team meeting and I asked everyone to put their thoughts upfront. Akshay Karnewar was a little shy and was reluctant to say even a single word. I was a little shocked. But then suddenly he came out with the words: "Batsmen should bat well, bowlers should bowl well and fielders should field well." Everyone started laughing and I could see that he lost his confidence. Immediately I stopped everyone. Now, you need to handle that boy very carefully. I had to literally go and talk to him, get his feedback, what is his background. So we need to develop him in that way. Every character needs to be studied well. There are certain things that need to be told in front of players and certain things in the room and certain things at the dinner table. So I try to find out that character and try to catch him in various situations where he can get his confidence. When we talk about the egos, they are basically among the players, why he's not being told and why just me? This is where I come in and give them equal treatment. So the ego doesn't come in the middle.

You have this reputation of being a disciplinarian and strict mentor, how much does it go down well with the players, especially of current generation?

Pandit: It is not accepted easily. When I say discipline, I always try to explain them, the game which you play is your love and passion. That game demands this, not me. If you are not going to be on time for the routine, it is not going to help you. I have to carry out this communication on a regular basis. The other day, Umesh Yadav was bowling in the nets. People hardly gave any importance to the cap which he was wearing other way round. I went to him and said, "Umesh, this is not the way to wear the cap."  Being a good role model, immediately he said, "Sir, I didn't realise, I am so sorry. Yes I will do it." This kind of of discipline is not beyond your control. It's simple, if you are not going to sleep on time, tomorrow how much best am I going to give to my team. And just because of my habit, if my team is going to struggle then who is going to be blamed? It's me. But you are hiding yourself and the team is going to suffer in the middle. So that kind of discipline, today's generation is not very keen or up to following it. But at Vidarbha, they follow every thing. They have been saying that this routine, system and discipline has helped us, because we were playing the same game earlier that but are looking different now.

The game demands discipline. If you have to be successful in the game or in any industry, you need to spend more time (with each other). You can't just win the trophy by sitting at home.

Isn't there a fear of going the Kohli-Kumble way with you being the disciplinarian and a taskmaster?

Pandit: I have never thought about that to be honest. If it happens, I am not worried about that because I know where we are going. This kind of discipline has to be there. Probably it was unfortunate that the incident happened between the coach and the captain, but I think the players should also understand because when the coach is trying to implement certain things, it is for the betterment of the game and every individual. If a particular player is not going to accept, you can't blame coach for that. It may be the success in his head which is forcing him to do that. And I am sure that any player who is has this type of attitude will realise sooner or later.

How do you handle tough nuts inside the dressing room?

Pandit: It's a very simple way. If I feel that a particular player is not following the discipline or is not able to fulfill the team demands, then naturally (I have to decide) whether he is in the team or not. There were a couple of players who acted above the game. You can't go above the game. If the team is practicing in a certain manner and if you show a different attitude from others, then a coach like me will never accept it. Immediately I spoke to the selectors and dropped them. I personally feel that one mind doesn't make a difference. It's a team game and if we give importance to one particular player, that means that the others have no value. And if I create that kind of feeling, then the team will not work. But if I give a feeling that everyone is important , then the team comes together.

You have had this habit of resurrecting struggling teams, You did it in 2001 and in 2015 when you came back, how do you manage that?

Pandit: I was very lucky to learn things from my seniors in my playing days. It's a very simple method. In my Ranji days, I went to Sunil Gavaskar sir, I asked him how am I batting, can you tell me or point out any corrections? He just told me, why don't you go out and watch the game, you will learn everything. I will just give you steps. Same methods have been employed and it works so easily without doing anything else. Vengsarkar used to guide me from the other side when I was batting. Any bad shot and you know Mumbai language...suddenly you are back on your toes. I played for Mafatlal under Ashok Mankad. Mankad was a great captain. He had that habit of observing everyone, keeping team together and getting the best out of the players. Fortunately at the age of 19, in spite of having eight Test cricketers in his team, he made me the captain. It was with his help that I could learn the management of the team. I could learn how to keep the team together and get the best out of players. During my Mumbai captaincy, Polly kaka (Polly Umrigar) taught me how to read pitches. He used to always tell me, "Dikra, come here I will show you (how to read the pitches). And I used to spend time. I was very keen, passionate and wanted to learn and improve. Going back to Achrekar sir where I have learnt cricket from my school days, he himself was a hard taskmaster. He used to watch the game from every corner of the ground which no one knew. He used to write down the feedback on the back of bus tickets, and I have picked up that habit from him. I have started writing in my notebook.

Even while having my lunch, I will sit in a place from where I can watch the entire ground. If a particular situation is such that you know that a team or player will suffer, you have to intervene and take control.

Apart from this have you been reading any management books or following a management guru to add your knowledge database?

Pandit: I am a very practical man to be honest. I believe in having my own experience coupled with the learnings from the seniors. Watching the game and learning, as Gavaskar said: How the top batsmen are handling the situations, how they are trying to come out of tough situations, also you try to think that you are in the middle. So mentally you are playing from the dressing room. That has helped me and today, I am asking every individual cricketer to do the same thing. Why don't you watch the game? And then we can discuss about it.

What kind of relationship/equation do you have with the captain?

Pandit: Faiz Fazal was sitting with me the other day and he said, "Sir, I have an injury on my hand and I don't know whether I will be fit to play." I jokingly said, you are my baby. As a captain of my team, you are my baby so I have to take care of you. He also laughed and said, "Yes sir, I am your baby."  Sometimes I can make out from his face that he is not happy with the combination I am recommending. And then suddenly I have to give him his choice and make him feel free. Automatically you develop a good relationship. I try to spend time with the captain every evening; suddenly call him just for the sake of calling and then discuss about next day's game. Just make him speak. In one of the matches, Faiz suddenly looked at me and said I will put a spinner on, I said your choice.  So he gets the confidence that tomorrow if I am doing something, my coach is with me. The captain should have that kind of feeling.

Every captain has a different character. Tomorrow he may have an ego because he is the captain, so it is more important to create that kind of friendly atmosphere. I have got this habit of getting the captain very close to me.

Are you someone who gives the players a free hand or someone who tries to have it your way?

Pandit: It all depends on the situation. There are certain situations where I would not even look at the player. But there are certain situations where I have to take control. There are certain decisions which a player or a captain is taking in the middle but it should not damage the team performance. And being a coach, it is my duty to guide him. We have to find a middle path. With the experience I have got, I know the exact timing when you have to put the finger on his head (smiles).

"I can say one thing very confidently that whenever I have attacked a team (had a go at) or individuals, he or they have definitely performed drastically well in the next session."

"I can say one thing very confidently that whenever I have attacked a team (had a go at) or individuals, he or they have definitely performed drastically well in the next session."

How important is it to know when to intervene and when best to say nothing? How do you decide?

Pandit: It depends on how the game is drifting, whether the situation is in control or not. These are the things one has to read very quickly. That comes from my habit of watching every ball. Even while having my lunch, I will sit in a place from where I can watch the entire ground. If a particular situation is such that you know that a team or player will suffer, you have to intervene and take control.

Sometimes when they are entering the dressing room, suddenly I have a go at them, sometimes I don't and sometimes I ignore them. So I have to find out that perfect timing.

What happens when a player is really unhappy with your decision?

Pandit: I don't think I have come across this situation. But I can say one thing very confidently that whenever I have attacked a team (had a go at) or individuals, he or they have definitely performed drastically well in the next session. Gurbani was playing in the final, the previous day he was put on saline because he was feeling very weak. I didn't know about it. The physio informed me that he was not feeling well. I was really shocked, there were four wickets still to be taken and they were 200 plus. I kept quiet and asked the physio to let me know next morning. Next day, I didn't look at him (Gurbani), I didn't approach him. I didn't want to make him feel weak. I just ignored him purposely. The way he was looking at me, it was like why sir is not asking me about my health? Then we came back in the dressing room and I was looking at some video clips, the physio again came and told me Gurbani was still feeling weak. I said show me where he is. I went inside, he was on the massage table with the drip in his hand. As soon as he looked at me, he said I am going sir, I will remove the drip and go, I said no you are going in 15 minutes. Just before going on the field, he sat beside me, I asked him are you still feeling weak? If you are feeling weak, forget about the team. Don't worry, you can rest. He said, "No, no sir, I will do it." I said it doesn't matter, if you don't do it, they will score another 100 run and we can score another 400 runs, our batsmen are there. He said, " sir I will go and get it."  The other day, he had an ankle injury, he came and said he can't bowl, and I said you have to bowl. There I didn't ask him anything. I said you have to bowl. It doesn't matter even if you break your ankle. Sometimes you motivate them and not discourage them. The third person who is going to listen to my conversation, he would always go back and say, this is not the way he should have said and that is why people say that I am a hard taskmaster. I will sympathise at certain moments because the game demands it. It is also important for the player to know that he is also equally important for the team.

Is there a softer side to Chandrakant Pandit?

Pandit: The boys keep my videos in their mobile and sometimes they show me and ask, "Sir, are you sure this is you?" (laughs).

What kind of videos are they?

Pandit: Whenever I am giving an award to them, trying to hold them and kiss them on the cheeks just to encourage. That particular morning I might have scolded them or shown my anger but evenings are entirely different. When they are sitting together at the dinner table cracking jokes and I am laughing at them and probably they are saying something about me. That kind of softer way we always look to follow. Sometimes they keep laughing but sometimes they keep saying, "Sir, I hope your third gear won't come quickly." (laughs) They say, "Sir, you are in the neutral and suddenly you activate the third gear which we are scared of." I said, if you are doing something wrong, may be fourth gear (laughs).

What do you do when a player is feeling really depressed or low?

Pandit: That happens very often, especially with the young players which I can understand. I have got a habit of calling them over my room just for a casual talk. Try to motivate them, discuss why it is not happening and what you should do. That 15-20-minute conversation helps them. If not then, looking at their mood, probably call them at the breakfast table early morning and have a casual talk. If not that way then I use someone else for that. Use Wasim Jaffer or may be Faiz Fazal to send across a message because some players might have fear in directly communicating with me. So this makes it easy.

"The boys keep my videos in their mobile and sometimes they show me and ask, "Sir, are you sure this is you?"

"The boys keep my videos in their mobile and sometimes they show me and ask, "Sir, are you sure this is you?"

How much do you get into technicalities?

Pandit: In the longer version, your technique plays a major role. But today's generation don't believe in technique. (I try to make) A slight correction if required, that too only if the player is ready to accept it. Normally, I don't force them but give them a choice. We had the case of R Sanjay who had a habit of shuffling almost one and half feet which I was little surprised when I saw him in August. Then I spoke to him, he said I am ready to do it. If you are ready to do it, let us work on that. I think within two days, he got the result. The choice is given to the players, I don't think that one should be very harsh on the player because there is certain confidence they have, the grip and technique. I didn't ask Shreyas Iyer to change anything because he had the confidence in doing what he was doing. And I have learnt from Achrekar sir that your natural game should be supported more rather than asking someone because tomorrow Gavaskar can't play like Tendulkar or vice-versa. If there is something that can help a player, I will call and convince him and give him a choice that we can try out for 6-7 days, if you feel better then go ahead with it.

How much of an impact does Achrekar sir have on your coaching career, how much have you employed his methods?

Pandit: Everything, I would say. He had a lot of impact on my cricketing career. The discipline we were talking about was taught by him from the beginning. Even if we wanted to have net practice, we had to roll the pitch and then practice. In the game, I used to ask someone, how you got out, he used to say, "Sir, he has taken a brilliant catch." But I remember when I was playing a game for a Mumbai club and Achrekar sir asked me the same question, how did you get out? I said I drove it so well but the fielder took a one-handed brilliant catch. He just slapped me. I was surprised. He said, "Who has given the catch? You! So he is there to take a brilliant catch. So don't give me those kind of excuses." So these excuses, even I don't accept. So much technology has come in and is helping us. But I am still writing in my book and then feeding it in my laptop. Sir has backed me to hit my own shots and that's what I am also doing. He's had a lot of impact.

There is also a creative aspect when it comes to your coaching. You used to recite Ramayana and Mahabharata in Mumbai dressing room, how did you develop that?

Pandit: I always relate things to situations. I have always been working on it to motivate the players. The coach cannot sit out of boundary and play cricket but he can motivate, manage and instigate them. And I know that Mumbai players can be instigated very quickly. Suddenly something comes to my mind while looking to motivate them because I have been thinking about that the whole night and probably in the morning too. While talking to the players I come out with many examples, and how it suits the game at the particular situation on that particular day is very important. It suddenly comes to my mind, nothing is planned.

How do you switch off?

Pandit: Suddenly when my wife calls me (laughs) and says I am here. Basically, I keep thinking about the game. I remember Faiz say, sir why don't you take rest? I have never seen you watch television, why don't you watch TV to take a break. I said if I take a break then you people will take a break on the ground (laughs). So, somehow it's about passion. It's not that I am forcing myself to do it; I really enjoy it. Whenever I come home, I sit with my family and suddenly start staring at a wall or a fan, they quickly come to know, I am thinking about the game.

I have become habitual, it's a continuous process. I've not been telling myself that I must think about the game but it just happens. I am very deep into that . I like to read the game. When I am watching India play on TV, I keep thinking if I was the coach or captain how I would set the field, which bowler will bowl. So this keeps coming and without that it's difficult for me to live.

But apart from that, you have any other passion that you follow or find any techniques to relax? Do you watch movies or listen to music etc?

Pandit: Not really. But I enjoy going to my native place where I get little relaxation by spending a couple of days there. I believe in my god Sharda Devi. I get peace when I go there. And I look forward to do that. And of course sitting at home and having home cooked food. My wife cooks very good food.

What next for Chandrakant Pandit now?

Pandit: As long as I have got energy and good health, I am sure I will try to impart my knowledge to Indian cricket and do my best to develop cricketers. I will continue coaching. As every cricketer says, after my retirement, I would like to give the best back to the game and country, I feel I am doing it and would still love to do that. Develop Indian cricket in whatever way I can.

Probably a hand at national coaching as well?

Pandit: (Smiles) If given a chance, yes, why not, always welcome. But somehow I have a doubt because this method won't work, which I am not worried of. But it is always better to see that Indian cricket is growing.

Just take us back to that moment when the winning runs were hit and Vidarbha clinched the title. What was your expression and reaction?

Pandit: Someone said, you have been used to winning the Ranji Trophy. Yes, it was the same feeling but at the same time there was a different feeling too because this team was never expected to win and I felt that getting them into that system has helped them win. It was history. That evening someone asked me the same question, I said God wanted to create history, not we. By keeping me with Vidarbha, he wanted to do something good for me.

Updated Date: February 22, 2018 19:57:14 IST

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