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Once fierce rivals, Chandrakant Pandit and Kiran More reunite with big gloves

If Chandrakant Pandit played only five Tests and 36 ODIs, it is largely due to the fact that Kiran More cemented his place in the Indian team of the 1980s.

Chandrakant Pandit (left) talks to players while Kiran More watches during a camp for Mumbai wicketkeepers at the MCA indoor academy in Bandra Kurla Complex yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Chandrakant Pandit (left) talks to players while Kiran More watches during a camp for Mumbai wicketkeepers at the MCA indoor academy in Bandra Kurla Complex yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Once fierce rivals, the former India stumpers are on the same platform — to develop young wicketkeepers from Mumbai.

Baroda-based More is on special invitation to train Mumbai wicketkeepers from all age groups in a camp organised by Mumbai coach Pandit at the Mumbai Cricket Association's indoor academy at Bandra Kurla Complex.

"I called Kiran to have a look at an U-14 wicketkeeper, who reminded me of him in his younger days. That's how we decided to have a camp for wicketkeepers," said Pandit after an exhaustive five-hour session yesterday.

'Owe a lot to Mumbai'
More is conducting the camp for free. "I owe a lot to Mumbai cricket. I scored a century here for Tatas and got immediate recognition. Chandu and I share a great relationship. Although we were competitors in our playing days, we enjoyed a great rapport. We were room partners on several occasions. Our friendship was as famous as our rivalry," said More.

Pandit recalled how people would get confused between himself and More. "My name was once announced to receive a memento during a felicitation function for the Indian team and Kiran went on the stage to collect it. And I did the same when his name was called. We were so similar in our appearances that people could hardly differentiate between us," Pandit recalled.

Mumbai already has Pandit and Vinayak Samant (U-23 coach) as former stumpers in their ranks to train wicketkeepers. How will More make a difference? "Kiran has been one of the most consistent wicketkeepers for India. To sustain success at the international level for so long is no joke," said Pandit.

Specialist for 'keepers
More said: "Wicketkeeping is the most neglected area today. You have specialists for everything except for a wicketkeeper. A 'keeper is the most important part of the team. A bowler will bowl good balls and fielders will do their job well, but you need a good wicketkeeper to complete the rest. Nowadays, wicketkeepers are not valued as they used to be in our times."

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