Nagpur: Team Vidarbha who recently received a rousing welcome upon reaching Nagpur after their maiden Ranji Trophy victory, got their moments to cherish, enthrall, get nostalgic and bask in the glory they brought to the region’s sports front. The team members were felicitated at a glittering ceremony attended by stalwarts and mentors of Team Vidarbha.
On the occasion former Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) president and ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, coach Chandrakant Pandit, skipper Faiz Fazal and VCA president Anand Jaiswal spoke about Vidarbha’s historical achievement. Players were also handed mementoes and cheques. VCA had announced the prize money of Rs 3 crore to players. The BCCI also gave Rs 2 crore as part of the prize money.
Manohar revealed he had received complaints about Pandit’s approach. “I said whatever he is doing, he has full freedom. Chandu great job … please continue to do that. We always have talent but the boys lacked focus and self-belief. Chandu’s strictness helped boys remain focused, while he created self-belief in the team,” said the former VCA president.
Pain turned into Gain
“Our openers scored around 1,700 runs between them. If you add No. 3 and No. 4, it comes to 3,000. It’s hard to beat the team with so many runs. Our three bowlers together have taken 100 wickets. I have never watched a live match on TV in my life but watched every ball of this match,” said Manohar.
Pandit explained how he inculcated the winning habit in the team and changed the mindset. “I was excited to see the talent here. This Trophy was not gifted, we won 7 games out of 9. Somebody asked me what is the difference between Mumbai and Vidarbha? I said if I would ask them (Vidarbha players) to jump from the top floor they wouldn’t hesitate. That’s the kind of trust, they have shown in my coaching. They knew whatever I was doing is for their benefit,” he said.
The Vidarbha coach revealed how Vidarbha players put their pains aside to contribute to the team’s success. “Prior to the final match, Faiz had stiff neck; (Wasim) Jaffer was suffering from tennis elbow, (Ganesh) Satish had a groin injury, (Aditya) Sarvate had side strain. (Akshay) Wakhare had back pain. But they put that behind to give their hearts and soul. Siddhesh (Neral) got hit on the head and was unable to see the ball. He sent the message that he is finding it difficult to sight. I said ‘even if you die, you need to bat’. That’s kind of attitude they showed on the field,” said Pandit.
Skipper Faiz, while thanking everyone from association to family members of players and ground staff, urged Pandit to remain ‘khadoos’. “He has been very khadoos. Had he been not been, hum utne khadoos nahi hote,” he said, while acknowledging the role of the support staff and the VCA administration.
VCA president Jaiswal, while hailing the team’s fighting spirit, disclosed he had booked the air tickets of Indore and hotel even before the semi-final was finished. “The way our team was playing, I had no doubt our team was going to win. This isn’t the end, this is just the beginning of something big,” he said.
Pics by Kunal Lakhotia