The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) decided to go back to former India stumper Chandrakant Pandit for a second stint as coach of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team yesterday.
The Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) which met sans Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar and Amol Muzumdar wasted no time in the appointment of coaches and selectors across all age groups except U-23 as the CIC is still deliberating on a few names. The MCA received only eight applications for various age group teams.
Pandit is confident of Mumbai winning its 41st Ranji title in his two-year tenure. "I saw some spark in the bunch of players which reached the semi-final after a few hiccups initially. They have the potential to win the Ranji title. They have the talent and skills, but just need proper guidance. I thank the MCA, Dilip Vengsarkar (vice-president) and his CIC panel who showed faith in me to guide Mumbai," Pandit told mid-day yesterday.
In his first two years as coach from 2002, Pandit won the Ranji Trophy twice before losing in the semi-final in his third year. Pandit was later made Director of MCA's indoor academy at Bandra Kurla Complex. He then moved to Rajasthan and Kerala to handle their cricketing activities.
Focus on youngsters
Pandit wants youngsters to rise to the challenge and make up for the void after Wasim Jaffer decided to move to Vidarbha. "There is no substitute for experience, but I am confident the youngsters we have will take it up as a challenge and come out with flying colours. I will be also talking to Pravin Amre (Mumbai's coach in the last season) because he did a terrific job," Pandit said.
Pandit will also be the head coach of the BKC indoor academy. Vengsarkar explained the decision: "I don't think it is too much for Pandit to handle. We will be appointing batting, bowling and fielding coaches at the indoor academy. Pandit is a proven performer. We discussed other names like Sulakshan Kulkarni, Sameer Dighe and Sairaj Bahutule. I spoke to other CIC members over the phone today and they all agreed on Pandit."
Meanwhile, former Mumbai skipper Milind Rege was appointed as chairman of selectors. Former India Test cricketer Karsan Ghavri will be a part of the selection committee as well. "The best part of this committee is that everyone shares a rapport with each other. We will have an informal meeting very soon," said Rege, who said the challenge lies in finding good fast bowlers.