IPL 2023: You can’t apply domestic coaching module in IPL, says KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit on handling Russells and Narines
IPL 2023: Chandrakant Pandit has a reputation for being a rigorous, no-nonsense disciplinarian, but the dean of local coaches is aware that he will need to adapt his approaches when players like Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, and Sunil Narine visit during the upcoming IPL season.
When he dons the cap of Kolkata Knight Riders head coach in the 16th league season, the 60-year-old former India stumper is also prepared to shape himself within acceptable bounds.
“You don’t have to use the same method everywhere. One has to be a little flexible while trying to understand the psyche of each player, which is very important,” Pandit told PTI post his appointment as the first Indian head coach of KKR.
“I always do that (study players) and accordingly we can strike a reasonable understanding and move forward,” Pandit hammered home the point that he doesn’t use a “One Size Fits All’ approach to coaching.
He readily acknowledges that some of the top players, such as Russell and Cummins, have extensive experience, and that he will never apply his Ranji Trophy methods to the IPL.
“These are experienced players. They playing all these years at highest level and of course same method can’t used at every level. You have to understand and study their methods and ensure that all the cricketing demands are fulfilled more than anything else,” he added.
Reputation of demanding full freedom and authority
On a domestic level, state associations that approach Pandit are aware that he must have complete autonomy to manage and oversee the operation if they want his services.
Will it be viable, however, at the IPL level, where the requirements are different and the individuals in charge of reviewing your performance have a more business-like outlook?
“I don’t know what has made of my image. But I understand that in a job of a head coach, things need to taken forward in such a way that they result-oriented.
“I don’t know how people look at my methods but with an opportunity given to me, I will try and fulfil that to the best of my abilities.”
In the IPL world, which is so different from the Ranji Trophy, the “Khadoos” Mumbaikar claimed that instant results apply to all coaches equally.
“I just look at the game and believe that the requirement of a particular format needs to fulfilled at that particular time. This is the process and it’s not only with me but everyone going through.
“Every format in cricket has a different set of demands. When you play first class, you have enough time to try out things.
“The process that one needs to work out in IPL is ability to take instant decisions. It’s fast-paced but at the end of the day, you are playing a form of cricket.”
It’s an advantage to have worked with Shreyas, Abhishek
One of the main figures in the KKR brain tank is the former Mumbai fixture Abhishek Nayar. The team captain, Shreyas Iyer, is also a native of Mumbai.
Interestingly, Pandit has mentored both of them at various points in his career, which helps him swiftly adapt to the new situation.
“It is always an advantage to have players in the set-up with whom you have spent time and of course the rapport which we have maintained over the years.
“KKR has Umesh Yadav, who has played in my coaching at Vidarbha and Venkatesh Iyer who is an important member of Madhya Pradesh side. I know all these boys personally,” added the man with six Ranji Trophy titles as a coach.
“And then you have Abhishek (Nayar) and Omkar Salvi (support staff) who have played under my coaching. It is a terrific advantage to understand the whole thing from them.”
The fact that he is an expert in domestic cricket, has a keen eye for potential, and has coached teams for almost two decades is his greatest advantage.
“Being an Indian coach and having spent enough time in domestic cricket, I know most players, whether they have played under my coaching or against teams coached by me. I am aware of everyone’s skills and that’s my greatest advantage,” he said.
Refusing offer more than a decade back
Pandit had admitted that during the early years of the IPL, he had once met Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of the team KKR, but that meeting had not gone well.
This time, he didn’t have to hesitate when KKR CEO Venky Mysore proposed the position of head coach.
“Yes, I got the offer after the Ranji Trophy final. It didn’t work out last time. It’s not that people must have misunderstood that and more than anything else, it’s an honour to be part of that franchise.”
So, any special message from SRK?
“Nothing from Mr Khan but I have got a lot of good positive vibes from the KKR family. The support staff and players share a healthy relationship and that makes me a little excited as it creates a very co-operative atmosphere in the team,” he signed off.
(With PTI Inputs)