'Mindset of Vidarbha players has changed'
NAGPUR: Soon after their second Ranji Trophy triumph earlier this year, Umesh Yadav told a broadcaster, “People did not know where Vidarbha was, but that will not be the case now.”
It wasn’t only Yadav who faced this question. Even Prashant Vaidya, the city’s first international cricketer and now vice-president of Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA), faced this question during his playing days.
“Once, I was asked ‘which team do you play for’? When I said Vidarbha, they didn't know anything about the team. Later, I shifted to Bengal. In those days, that was the status of Vidarbha at the national level. It has changed now,” Vaidya said while speaking during an interactive session on Vidarbha cricket on Day 4 of the 42nd SJFI Annual Convention on Thursday.
Vaidya said talent was always there in Vidarbha. “Somehow, players couldn't transform talent into performance. It was a question of mindset, which has changed now,” he said.
Vaidya has always focused on getting the right person for the job. If it was Neil D’Costa, Subroto Bannerjee and Sulakshan Kulkarni in 2009 during the inception of VCA’s Residential academy, Chadrakant Pandit was a big catch in 2017.
“I felt a coach could change the mindset. Luckily, we got Chandu. He had parted ways with Mumbai when I approached him. I met him at the wedding of Vengsarkar’s daughter, as we had lunch, I said, ‘I won’t allow you to drop your plate until you say yes to me’. The rest is history,” the former pacer said.
Vaidya and former VCA president Prakash Dixit termed 2009 as a landmark year for Vidarbha cricket when the academy was introduced. “I can proudly say that today maximum Vidarbha players are from the academy. Prashant toured entire Vidarbha in search of talent and selected a pool of 30 players. We also brought professionals like Sairaj Bahutule, Hemang Badani, Shiv Sunder Das, S Badrinath and Wasim Jaffer to guide our players. The players benefited from their presence,” Dixit said.
Motivator Dr Prashant Nimbalkar said they focused on converting players’ ability into winning combination. “They worked really hard for today's positive results. It wasn’t about not to lose, but all about how to win,” he said.
Vaidya said VCA has a good structure and the association concentrates on proper process. “This success is result of that proper process. We have won eight trophies since 2016. It's not that only our senior team is doing well. All the teams are doing well and we are getting continuous supply of talent.”
“Winning is a habit. A barrier was crossed once they won the Ranji Trophy for the first time. They went with the same mindset last year. The mindset won't change this year too. Umesh broke that barrier individually when he became the Test cricketer,” he added.
Vaidya said India’s domestic cricket will improve under the leadership of new BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. “He has already said that his focus will be on domestic cricket, with domestic players also getting more money. I think if you make domestic cricket strong, then you will have strong teams," he said.
Head of Marketing, Sony Pictures Network Limited Neville Bastawalla presented a demonstration of upcoming sports content.