Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit blamed Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president Vinod Deshpande for the 41-time Ranji Trophy champions’ recent slump, Mid-day reported on Wednesday.
Mumbai crashed to a humiliating innings-and-145-run defeat against Vidarbha in Nagpur to end all hopes of sealing a quarter-final spot in Ranji Trophy. Mumbai needed an outright win to stay alive in the competition.
“One cannot only blame the players [for this debacle],” said Chandrakant Pandit, who had a successful tenure as Mumbai coach, guiding the team to the Ranji Trophy title in 2015-’16 and 2016-’17. “One Mumbai administrator is to be blamed for all this disruption – Vinod Deshpande.
“He is responsible for the mess in the Mumbai team along with those who supported him,” Pandit told the newspaper.
“The team was functioning smoothly when Dilip Vengsarkar was the Cricket Improvement Committee’s chief and Milind Rege was chief selector a couple of years ago.”
Pandit alleged that Deshpande had a problem with the former’s salary as coach.
“He ensured I am removed as the coach under the pretext that players were not happy with me and that I was too strict,” the former India player told the newspaper.
Deshpande, however, refuted Pandit’s claims. “Pandit would be away with the Mumbai team for nearly 10 months due to the neutral venues system,” he was quoted as saying.
“And since he was also the director of the MCA indoor academy at the Bandra-Kurla complex, we wanted to ensure that functioning at BKC shouldn’t be affected due to his absence.
“The one-man, one-post issue was brought up in the Annual General Meeting before it being taken up in the managing committee.”
Pandit also criticised the Mumbai’s players’ attitude during the match against Vidarbha.
“Despite Vidarbha enforcing the follow-on, there was music being played in the Mumbai’s dressing room,” he said.
“It showed that the players were not hurt by their performance. I don’t know how legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar will react when they come to know about this kind of dressing room atmosphere.
“It was disappointing to see the mindset of Mumbai players. Mumbai never looked like a unit on the field. The body language to fight it out was just not there,” he added.