Chandrakant Pandit has come out in support of Sanjay Manjrekar after the latter was removed from the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s commentary panel last week.
In an interview with The Times of India, Pandit requested the BCCI to rethink it’s decision on Manjrekar. “I know him [Manjrekar] since childhood. He’s not a man who can bring harm. He’s a straightforward person, which is something I always admired about him,” he said.
Pandit, who, like Manjrekar, comes from Mumbai, is the most successful coach in Indian domestic cricket. The 58-year-old coached Vidarbha to the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Known for being straightforward as a person himself, Pandit said it’s unfair to expect commentators to please people while analysing the game.
“A person who tells you the truth on your face is never liked by anybody. As a commentator, he has to sometimes say things which may not be liked by all. He can’t say things that please people, just to keep his job,” he said.
In his response, Manjrekar had said that he accepts the BCCI’s decision and doesn’t feel entitled to be a part of the commentary panel.
“Sanjay isn’t against anybody,” said Pandit. “I don’t want to blame anybody for his removal, but I request the board to have a rethink about its decision. I’m saying this because all the commentators give inputs about the game which are beneficial to not only young cricketers but also coaches like us.”
Manjrekar has received criticism in the past for terming Ravindra Jadeja a ‘bits and pieces’ cricketer and having a run-in with co-commentator Harsha Bhogle on air. Pandit acknowledged that his statemate can ruffle a few feathers once in a while but that doesn’t mean he deserves the boot.
“He may sound harsh at times, but the BCCI can ask him to tone down his language, but don’t throw him out of the profession,” said Pandit. “Sometimes he makes comments spontaneously, as if he’s talking to a friend, which unfortunately appears inappropriately on air. Tomorrow somebody else can make a similar mistake, but sacking that person isn’t the answer.”