Nagpur: A strict disciplinarian by his own admission, Chandrakant Pandit is immensely proud that Vidarbha players have made a seamless transition from handling pressure to putting opposition under the pump, during their second successive Ranji Trophy triumph.
Unarguably, the best domestic coach in the country, Pandit guided an unheralded Vidarbha side to second successive titles with a mix of strategic acumen and old school discipline. Many observed that Vidarbha’s maiden title triumph last year against Delhi was a ‘fluke’ and Pandit did admit that against Saurashtra, the aim was to prove that 2017-18 was not a mere flash in the pan.
Neither Pandit not captain Faiz Fazal elaborated on secrets on the process they followed but it was easy to guess that probably the focus was on getting the team united and it was imperative for everyone to pull in one direction, without thinking about individual results.
Yes, there was pressure to maintain that reputation and we followed a process to maintain (performance). I won’t elaborate on the process but we did was to work on inside cricket and cricket ethics,” Pandit said after the final. Pandit said that he and his wards had a point to prove and answer the critics with a fitting performance.
“When this team walked out together, people made fun as if it was a school time but if Australia did the same, they said that is unity. This was a process and it was significant (in changing the mind set),” an elated yet content-looking Pandit said at the post-match press conference.
Pandit said he was given a free hand by the VCA and they knew all along about his strict methods. He said he had to sometimes keep even players, who were performing well, outside the playing XI to develop a healthy competition in the side.