Kolkata Knight Riders have roped in Chandrakant Pandit as their new head coach ahead of the IPL 2023 Auction. He replaces Brendon McCullum, who left the Kolkata-based franchise after IPL 2022. The former New Zealand skipper is now in charge of England's Test side.
KKR had a memorable run under McCullum as they made it to an IPL final for the first time in seven years during the 2021 season. Team owners will be hoping that new coach Chandrakant Pandit can help the franchise win their first trophy since 2014 in IPL 2023.
Before fans witness a new era in KKR history under Pandit, here are five things you need to know about him.
#1 Chandrakant Pandit played five Tests for India
Pandit made his Test debut for India in a match against England at Leeds back in June 1986. The visitors won the match by 279 runs. Pandit did not score big in either innings, but the team registered a massive win on his debut.
Pandit played four more Test matches for India, ending with 171 runs in eight innings at an average of 24.42 and a strike rate of 51.66.
#2 He played a match-winning knock for India on ODI debut
Pandit also represented India in 36 ODI matches, aggregating 290 runs in 23 innings. He played the best knock of his ODI career in his first match itself, scoring an unbeaten 33 off just 34 balls to help his side beat New Zealand by three wickets.
India were 81/6 in a run-chase of 133 runs when Pandit came out to bat at number eight. He played a counter-attacking knock to guide the side home.
#3 He has achieved enormous success as a coach in Ranji Trophy
Pandit has been labeled by many as one of the best coaches in Indian domestic cricket. Before joining the Kolkata Knight Riders as head coach, he won the Ranji Trophy six times with three different teams.
His latest triumph came with Madhya Pradesh in 2022. Fans should note that he narrowly missed out on lifting the Ranji Trophy as MP skipper in 1998-99 but he did so as a coach 23 years later.
#4 Fans consider him the Alex Ferguson of Indian cricket
Sir Alex Ferguson is reckoned by many as one of the greatest managers in football history. He won 13 English Premier League championships as the manager of Manchester United.
Given his excellent performance as a coach in the Ranji Trophy, many Indian cricket fans have compared Chandrakant Pandit to Ferguson.
#5 He is the first ever Indian head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders have been a part of every IPL season since the tournament's inception. Interestingly, they have had a foreign head coach in all seasons so far.