Madhya Pradesh captain Aditya Srivastava waited for his turn to speak after Mumbai captain Prithvi Shaw in a post-match presentation of the Ranji Trophy final. But Srivastava’s team had come on board reading “Champions”, ready to pose for photographs.
Earlier, in yet another glimpse of what this maiden Ranji Trophy crown meant for the state that was formed in 1956, Srivastava was already in his official navy blue MP Blazer as he came just short of a six-wicket victory at 41. Moments later he was standing a few meters away from his impatient companions. -Time Champion Mumbai.
“Totally excited,” began the 28-year-old captain when it was his turn to speak to presenter Anjum Chopra, the former India captain.
“A generation… time has passed and MP has won the Ranji Trophy for the first time. This is the moment of a lifetime for me. The emotions are very deep in the team, we are trying to laugh out loud, but inside we are very emotional.”
MP has produced Indian players like Narendra Hirwani, Rajesh Chauhan, Amay Khurasia, Jai Prakash Yadav, Naman Ojha and Devendra Bundela, the third highest run-scorer in Ranji history. But the Ranji Trophy had proved elusive, unlike the golden era of the distant past, when a part of the region, including the center of cricket, Indore, was represented by the Holkar team.
Combining stalwarts such as CK Naidu, CS Naidu, Syed Mushtaq Ali and Chandu Sarwate, Holkar reached the Ranji final ten times in 11 seasons from 1944–45 to 1954–55, and won the trophy four times, the last of which came in 69 years. Before 1952-53.
On Sunday, having managed to capture his emotions during a post-match speech, Srivastava threw the mic aside, accepted the Ranji Trophy, walked over to his team and handed the cup to 18-year-old attacker Akshat Raghuvanshi. The batsman who started this season with a century on debut and scored three important fifties, two of them in the knockouts.
Srivastava and coach Chandrakant Pandit then held the trophy and kissed it. The 1998–99 heartbreak at the same Chinnaswamy Stadium was on the mind of the then captain Pandit. This was the only previous occasion that MP had reached the final, and had a hand on the title, before losing a safe position against hosts Karnataka on the final day. “Twenty-three years later, we are back here and we have done it,” Pandit said.
The team walked with the trophy to the stand next to their dressing room, where about a thousand fans were standing and cheering from the upper level. Fans had largely supported MP during the five days of the match, with his Royal Challengers Bangalore star and MP middle-order batsman Rajat Patidar receiving special praise. Slogans of “RCB, RCB” and “Patidar, Patidar” were being raised continuously.
Patidar, who dominated the IPL knockouts, repeated against Mumbai in the first innings of the final and scored the winning runs in the second. Now, he held the trophy on his head and walked to the edge of the boundary, making the fans roar louder.
The team proceeded to walk to the middle of the field, where they put down the trophy and were briefly drenched. The ground staff and chief curator gathered nearby, and soon MP players and support staff joined them. Coach Pandit addressed the gathering, talking about how the MP arrived in Bengaluru in mid-May with a few weeks to go for the Ranji knockouts, and how hard the ground staff had worked to arrange the nets so that The team can practice well. ,
Pandit then turned to his players and said: “Not only have you achieved something historic, but it is also a historic occasion for this ground, as it hosted its 100th Ranji match. So the day is doubling.” is historical.” Captain Srivastava then went to the curator and handed over a bunch of currency notes as a token of appreciation to the team.
In the press conference that followed, Srivastava talked about the dedication of his unit during preparation and the personal “sacrifices” made under the coach, who is known to be a tough taskmaster.
The pundit intervened: “I remember they were to be married last year and he asked me, ‘Sir, which date should I choose?’ I told him in June itself and that too only for two-three days, you will not get time to go on your honeymoon as we started our preparations.”
Srivastava replied: “I have been married for a year and I am still not on my honeymoon.”
Pandit described his combination with Srivastava as the best in his long career – his sixth Ranji title as a coach.
“I have worked with many associations and handled many captains,” Pandit said. “But the synergy that Aditya and I have is completely different. He is the only captain who has spent hours in my room. None of the other captains were as interested in the other players and the team, and the coach had to follow up with them. Here, it’s the other way around. ,
Srivastava said he wants to build on what this group of players has achieved. “It has been my first year as a captain and everything I know about leading a team comes from Chandrakant sir. I would like to continue this. It wasn’t easy at all to do it once, but doing it again is going to be tough.”
Pandit has coached Mumbai and Vidarbha to win back-to-back Ranji titles, so who knows what more glory the next season will bring to MP.