Under the captaincy of Aditya Shrivastava, Madhya Pradesh, a team that had not been regarded as one of cricket’s elites for the previous ten years, defeated domestic powerhouse Mumbai by six wickets on Sunday in the Ranji Trophy final.
Also Read: Madhya Pradesh beat Mumbai, win maiden Ranji title
Shrivastava has now joined the list of captains who have won the Ranji Trophy in their first season leading the team. Coach Chandrakant Pandit has also buried the ghosts of losing a final at this very ground 23 years ago.
Here are some key takeaways from MP’s amazing Ranji Trophy campaign:
1. Chandrakant Pandit‘s influence: Much have been appreciating Chandrakant Pandit’s role in helping MP clinch their maiden Ranji trophy, and rightly so. After Rajat Patidar scored the most significant single in Madhya Pradesh cricket history, it ended a cycle for head coach Pandit, who had failed to capture the state team’s first Ranji Trophy as a player 23 years earlier.
When asked about the triumph, he said,” Every trophy gives satisfaction but this one is special. I couldn’t do it as an MP captain years back (23 years). All these years, I have always felt that I had left something back over here. That’s the reason I am a bit more excited and emotional about it.”
After the win Dinesh Kartik has called him, “Alex Ferguson of Ranji Trophy” and rightly so. Before this win, he had already won 5 Ranji trophies as a head coach, 3 with Mumbai and 2 with Vidarbha.
2. The rise of Rajat Patidar: Although Patidar has been active in domestic cricket since 2015, Pandit remembers noticing a noticeable shift in his protégé’s batting last season. The right-hander had begun to appear as someone who was prepared for the next level after years of being a force for his state team.
Also Read: Rajat Patidar solves RCB’s long-standing No 3 problem
And then comes the innings against LSG. The 112* made him a visible name in the IPL circuit. Even in the final, it was his century in the first innings which all but sealed the game for Madhya Pradesh. The future of Indian cricket has never been more exciting.
3. The captainship of Aditya Shrivastava: Teams have many good individual players but ultimately, it in the hands of the captain on how he/she chooses to take the team forward. And the dedication shown by Aditya should be taken note of. The coach was all praise for the skipper, who took the reigns for the first time this season.
He said,” I remember when he was supposed to get married and he asked me – ‘Sir, what date (should I get married)?’ I said ‘only in June, that is the possibility for you to get married, that too (a break of) only two days or maybe three days. You will not get time to go on your honeymoon. We had started our preparations as well. I’ve handled many captains, everybody has a good rapport with me, everybody has a good combination with me. But I think the rapport and combination with him (Shrivastava) is entirely different. He’s the only captain who has spent hours and hours with me in the room…Winning the trophy is different, but the way he has implemented all strategies and planning, any messages going to him and he’s implemented very nicely. I think that helped the team play well. Of course, he has his own ideas but our discussions which we’ve had regularly, he has implemented it on the ground. He has been a wonderful captain for Madhya Pradesh.”
4. Collective team effort: Due to India commitments, Madhya Pradesh was without its key players, Venkatesh Iyer and Avesh Khan, for the most of the Ranji season. Many players weren’t available when Madhya Pradesh began their preparations for the second stage of the competition because the IPL was also scheduled between the group stage and the Ranji Trophy knockouts.
Inspite of that, players were motivated to do well for the MP Ranji team. In the words of the coach,” It’s very difficult to change their minds but they were getting opportunities and we cannot deny that. Fortunately for us players like Venkatesh Iyer, Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar, Arshad Khan and Kartikeya, they’ve been in touch with me regularly during the IPL. And that could help me to motivate them and to make them understand that this is a prestigious tournament. The mindset was not to be changed towards white-ball cricket but you have to come back immediately and work with the red ball. So I think that kind of motivation, we kept on giving them. Aditya was talking to them, they were trying to find out what was going on. So certain things were discussed regularly, which has helped us to keep them in this format as well.”
Whenever the star players weren’t available players like Kumar Kartikeya, Shubham Sharma, Yash Dubey, etc. took the mantle and made the underdogs champions.