As spectators of the game, we always come across a couple of highly talented names who despite all the potential and hard work only fail to make it big at the highest level owing to poor luck and timing.
Manish Pandey, the Karnataka star, has been one such name in recent years. As a 19-year-old, the right-hander grabbed the limelight after he became the youngest century maker in the history of the IPL. The record, achieved in 2009, still stands unbroken. It was a classic case of “talent meets opportunity” – the slogan of the IPL.
However, things haven’t exactly panned out in favour since then, as he continues to struggle with injury and hyper competition for a place in India’s packed top-order. The level of efforts put in by Manish has always been a notch higher than the previous one. But, with the scarce amount of luck, the opportunity always seems to be ignoring him.
Manish Pandey is part of India’s 15-man squad for the five-match One-day International series against Sri Lanka starting on Sunday but is unlikely that he will get a chance.
“Honestly, I have waited for a long time, but I am used to it now. IPL was going good for me, 10 games and about 400 runs and then I missed two crucial games (knockouts). That is part of the game, but I have played the waiting game really well,” Pandey said in a media chat on Friday.
Pandey has joined the India side after leading India A to the Tri-series victory in South Africa with personal scores of 55, 41 not out and 86 not out with an unbeaten 93 in the final which helped India get better of South Africa A in the final.
Injuries to Blame
Despite being one of the most talented youngsters, Pandey was made to wait for a long time before making inroads in the national side. Things got better in 2015 when he was handed his Indian debut. But, only for a short while, as he was never considered for the long run. He has only played 12 ODIs and eight Twenty20 Internationals.
“It really hurts. Sometimes when you are not in the form, it does not hurt as much as it does when you are really in form. You have to take it in your stride, that is the time when you get to know what is the weak part of your body, where you have to work…I had six weeks to work on things, so it was good in a way,” Pandey sounded philosophical about the IPL injury.
The emergence of KL Rahul has also brought in more competition as the 24-year-old is now in the reckoning to claim the coveted No. 4 spot in the limited-overs side. Pandey acknowledged the fact.
“That is where I bat, I have batted for a long time. But if the team thinks somebody who has been batting really well, and KL has been batting really well, and they want to go with that, I would love to see that happen. It does change the middle order a bit, but only one or two things. We all agree with what the management has to say. We abide by that.”
However, the Indian team’s new fitness mantra will ensure Pandey, a brilliant fielder is never out of the reckoning for selection.
“If it is an advantage for me, I would love to take it up and work,” he added.