KKR name Chandrakant Pandit head coach

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Chandrakant Pandit, who led Madhya Pradesh to their maiden Ranji Trophy title earlier this year in Indian domestic cricket, has been named Kolkata Knight Riders’ new head coach. He takes over from Brendon McCullum, who coached KKR for three seasons before taking on the same role with England’s Test side.

Pandit, a wicketkeeper-batter who played five Tests and 36 ODIs for India between 1986 and 1992, is a highly regarded coach on the Indian domestic circuit. He won the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition, with Mumbai in 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2015-16, but his claim to fame came with his lower-profile charges: his triumph with an unfancied MP last season came after similar runs with Vidarbha – he took them to their maiden Ranji title in 2017-18, and then helped them defend it 2018-19. Pandit was also director of cricket at Rajasthan when they defended their Ranji title – again, only their second ever – in
2011-12.

Venky Mysore, KKR’s CEO, said of the appointment: “We are very excited that Chandu is joining the Knight Riders family to lead us through the next phase of our journey. His deep commitment to what he does and his track record of success in domestic cricket is there for everyone to see. We are looking forward to his partnership with our skipper Shreyas Iyer, which promises to be an exciting one.” Pandit said, “I have heard from players and others who have been associated with the Knight Riders about the family culture as well as the tradition of success that has been created. I am excited about the quality of the support staff and the players who are part of the set-up, and I am looking forward to this opportunity with all humility and positive expectations.”