The 62-year-old coach, a Shiv Chhatrapati Award winner, was the only female coach honoured at the function. “I have admired Viv Richards since my playing days in the 70s. It was a very touching moment for me when he said ‘I’m proud of you’.
I had tears in my eyes when he said that players like him emerge because of great coaches who groomed them. A legend saying like that has encouraged me even further,” said Bhandare, the joint secretary of the Women’s Cricket Association of India.
No skipping practice
Bhandare is a morning regular at the Indian Gymkhana in Matunga where she trains girls. In the evening, she trains boys from the Salaam Bombay Foundation at Shivaji Park Gymkhana.
Many of her wards have gone on to play at the domestic and international level. She recollected how she became a coach when she was still playing. “I was still playing cricket in 1983 when I started coaching the Bombay University women’s team.
There weren’t many female coaches and I liked to share my experience. So the onus of coaching fell on me. I eventually started taking it seriously and here I am, still the same after 30 years,” said the former state-level cricketer.