It is the 1998-99 Ranji Trophy final. Chandrakant Pandit, the captain of Madhya Pradesh, had Karnataka under control for the majority of the match. Heartbreakingly, Vijay Bharadwaj, who had six for 24, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

When Madhya Pradesh was 2/1 in the pursuit of a modest objective of 108 in the 2021-22 final, Pandit, as coach, must have had comparable anxieties. But no one in the Mumbai ranks could pull a Bharadwaj, and Madhya Pradesh, under the leadership of Aditya Shrivastava, were unstoppable, taking home the trophy for the first time in their history.

After Mumbai were all out for 269 in their second innings on day five, Sharma and Patidar helped them chase down 108 in 29.5 overs to make Sunday an unforgettable day for Madhya Pradesh. The historic victory was forged by centuries from Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma, and Rajat Patidar in the first innings.

Chandrakant Pandit’s Ranji Trophy achievements

Pandit has been switching teams all around India for the past 23 years. During his coaching lifetime, he not only helped Mumbai win the Ranji Trophy three times (2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and then again in 2015-16 after a 10-year break), but he also changed Assam's culture towards the game. But Pandit didn't start receiving the credit he deserved until Vidarbha won consecutive titles (2017–18 and 18–19 seasons). In domestic cricket, Vidarbha was seen as an underdog team, therefore frequently making it to the elite group was seen as a significant accomplishment.

When asked about his leadership and strategic choices, MP captain Aditya Shrivastava didn't hold back when he grabbed the trophy. Shrivastava publicly and eloquently lauded the 60-year-old coach, claiming that he had never managed a cricket team at such a high level and that all he had done was largely the result of the preparations made by Pandit and his support crew. Similar comments were expressed by Faiz Fazal, the only captain from Vidarbha to have won the Ranji twice.

As a result of Pandit's influence over the group, when Srivastava planned to be married, he asked this Pandit—rather than the Pandit who may officiate the ceremony—what date he might reserve. He was only given two days off from training even then.

Chandrakant Pandit is continuing the legacy of those who trained him, including Ramakant Achrekar, Ashok Mankad, and Polly Umrigar, all of whom came from the Bombay school.

“It’s a great memory which I left 23 years back on this ground. I think it’s all God’s blessings that we come back here and win this trophy which was fabulous,” the legendary head coach told Star Sports.

“It’s a bit emotional because missing out on this trophy when I was the captain of Madhya Pradesh on this very ground. Some say ‘father couldn’t do it but the son does it’, so Aditya Shrivastava has done it tremendously,” he added.

“I always look for challenging jobs when the team isn’t doing very well. There are a lot of youngsters in the team and I probably want to develop that culture for a particular state. Particularly about MP, I played for this team for almost six years. I knew the culture so didn’t turn down the offer that came to me in March.”

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Featured photo: BCCI