Kolkata Knight Riders names Chandrakant Pandit new head coach

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) named Chandrakant Pandit their new head coach last Thursday. He replaced former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who was appointed head coach for the England Test team.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be given this responsibility. 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,” Pandit said.

“I am excited about the quality of the support staff and the players who are part of the setup, and I am looking forward to this opportunity with all humility and positive expectations.”

KKR CEO Venky Mysore said that Pandit had the right skills for the team, based on his successful coaching career in domestic cricket teams. Recently, Pandit led Madhya Pradesh to its first Ranji title. He has won four Ranji titles as a coach.

He coached Mumbai from 2015-2016. He also coached Vidarbha, leading the team to two back-to-back campaigns in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Previously, he played as a right-hand batter, amassing 1321 runs from 11 matches.

“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,” Mysore said.

“We are looking forward to his partnership with our skipper Shreyas Iyer, which promises to be an exciting one.”

Plans for 2023 auction

Pandit has worked with players such as Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, and Shreyas Iyer and coaches such as Abhishek Nayar throughout his coaching career.

Pandit said he had made plans for the 2023 IPL auction. Sreehari Menon from Indiesport said that KKR would likely keep most of their star players and look to acquire Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, and more.

KKR had a somewhat lacklustre campaign in the IPL 2022 Mega Auction. Although the two-time IPL champion acquired Shreyas, Nitish Rana, and Pat Cummins, Menon said the team lacked depth and quality compared to other teams. Alex Hales' injury further jeopardized KKR's campaign in the 2022 season.

“Yes, I’m already on it. We’ve to make sure to get the best out of every Individual, not only one particular player. But of course, there are players who’ll be playing very key roles,” Pandit said.

During an interview with Times of India, Pandit said his auction plans would provide an advantage for KKR. He also said they would help him settle with the squad. He asserted that he had formed a good bond with several players.

“It’s obviously a great advantage. The rapport that we had for so many years, we know each other so well. As a player and as a coach, we understand each other quite well," he said.

"It’s not only Shreyas Iyer, but also Abhishek and the support staff that I have. There’s Omkar Salvi (KKR academy bowling coach) and Bharat Arun (KKR bowling coach). We all know each other quite well.”

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.