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Ranji Trophy final: Chandrakant Pandit will plot for MP's maiden title, Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar eyes championship

Updated on: 22 June,2022 07:45 AM IST  |  Bangalore
R Kaushik |

Coach Amol Muzumdar will look to clinch 42nd Ranji Trophy championship for the team he represented, while Chandrakant Pandit will plot Madhya Pradesh’s maiden title against a side he once played for and coached

Ranji Trophy final: Chandrakant Pandit will plot for MP's maiden title, Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar eyes championship

Amol Muzumdar and Chandrakant Pandit

It’s been 23 years since Madhya Pradesh last entered the Ranji Trophy final. The one constant between 1999 and now is Chandrakant Pandit, the former India batsman.

Pandit the coach will be hoping to do what Pandit the skipper couldn’t in the title round against Karnataka, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the final session of the match. Standing between him and a third Ranji crown in the last four editions is the team he represented as player and coach in many title-winning campaigns, his home side Mumbai.

It was under Pandit’s stewardship that Mumbai won the last of their 41 titles, in 2015-16. Until this year, the domestic powerhouse had made just one subsequent final even as Pandit masterminded back-to-back title runs for unfancied Vidarbha.

It will be up to Amol Muzumdar to ensure the giant shadow of Pandit doesn’t loom over the Mumbai camp when they lock horns with Madhya Pradesh in the five-day final at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium from Wednesday. 

Almost everyone in the Mumbai squad has been under Pandit’s tutelage at one point. Muzumdar’s challenge will be to get his team to focus on the job at hand, not the opposition coach.

Also Read: Ranji Trophy final: Winning the trophy is our main motive, says Mumbai captain Prithvi Shaw

Prithvi & Co favourites

Madhya Pradesh’s stirring run in the knockouts notwithstanding—they registered outright wins over Punjab and Bengal in the quarters and semis respectively—Mumbai will begin obvious favourites, given form, resources and pedigree. In his first season as head coach, Muzumdar has instilled a sense of purpose and reiterated the value of following systems and processes. 

A young side with Prithvi Shaw at the helm has unquestioningly bought into Muzumdar’s line of thinking and that has manifested itself in a string of excellent all-round displays.

Suved Parkar has set stall as one for the future, Yashasvi Jaiswal has smashed hundreds in his last three innings and Sarfaraz Khan is the tournament’s leading scorer with 803 runs. 

Left-arm spinner Shams Mulani is the highest wicket-taker with 37 scalps, and the move to go in with five full bowlers has been enabled by both he and offie Tanush Kotian being capable batsmen too. 

All bases covered

Seasoned medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni offers leadership to the bowling group, and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Mumbai have all bases covered.

Madhya Pradesh, though, are unlikely to be overawed either by the stage or their opponents. Their progress might have surprised many, but they have always had quiet belief in their abilities. 

Rajat Patidar, Yash Dubey and Shubham Sharma all have upwards of 450 runs while left-arm orthodox/wrist spinner Kumar Kartikeya, the architect of their semi-final win, is only second to Mulani in the wicket-taking stakes with 27 wickets. Mumbai will know better than to take Pandit’s charges lightly.

No. of Ranji Trophy finals Mumbai have lost in the last 30 years—to Gujarat in 2016-17

Mumbai’s bowling average, which is the best among all Ranji teams this season

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