'I am extremely happy to be back with the Mumbai Ranji team,' says Chandrakanat Pandit
Mumbai: Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Chandrakanat Pandit has been appointed as coach of the Mumbai Ranji team as well as the head coach of the indoor academy at BKC. The Dilip Vengsarkar-led Cricket Improvement Committee took the decision on Tuesday.
Former Mumbai captain Milind Rege will now replace chief national selector Sandeep Patil, who had stepped down as the chief selector of the Mumbai Ranji team. Others in the selection panel include Karsan Ghavri, Ravi Thakkar and Nishit Shetty.
Pandit, who had earlier coached Mumbai to two straight Ranji Trophy triumphs in 2003 and 2004, has also coached Mahrashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Last season he worked as Kerala Cricket Association’s Director of Cricket. The former stumper said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“I am extremely happy to be back with the Mumbai Ranji team. Dilip Vengsarkar and others in the MCA have entrusted me with the responsibility to look after Mumbai cricket and it always a huge responsibility. As a player, as coach, as director of the indoor academy, I have had different roles and now I am in the mix again,” Pandit told this newspaper from Kerala.
The seasoned coach said that he would take over the reigns immediately. “For any team, the off-season is very important. Once we know the probables, the camp will start soon at the BKC. It is important to start the campaign on a positive note and we need to prepare well for the upcoming season.”
When Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy with Pandit as coach, the team had seasoned campaigners like Vinod Kambli, Amol Muzumdar, Wasim Jaffer and Nilesh Kulkarni.
The current Mumbai side is young and lacks experience. “We must appreciate that Amre has worked hard and done well. He guided a young Mumbai side to semi-finals. With Mumbai, the expectations are always high as we are 40 times champions. I take it as a challenge. I feel the young boys are capable and we have to back them.”
He said that having worked with the boys at the age-group level will be a big boost. “Many boys who are now part of the senior team were with me at the U-14, U-16 and U-19 level and I hope to carry the rapport forward. Mumbai teams are always known for their fighting spirit and the ‘khadoos’ attitude and we will match the style of our previous champion sides.”
Last season Mumbai suffered a shock defeat against Jammu and Kashmir at home before getting their campaign back on track towards the end of the group stage. Pandit believed other teams in the domestic circuit have improved. “We often talk about Mumbai, but we must realise that other teams are also doing well. The competition now is much stronger than before.”