Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Manish Pandey Presses his Claim for a Regular Spot with Impressive Fifty
With the fight for the limited-spots in the middle-order heating up, Manish Pandey did a world of good to himself by making the most of the opportunity that came his way during the fourth One-Day International on Thursday (August 31).
That Pandey was lower in the pecking order was very much evident when the likes of Kedar Jadhav and KL Rahul were tried out in the middle-order for the first three games against Sri Lanka. However, after Jadhav and Rahul failed to make the chances count, the former was replaced by Pandey, and he strengthened his claim for a regular place in the playing eleven with a brilliant fifty.
The right-handed batsman came in the series on the back of some impressive performances in the Indian Premier League and the tri-series in South Africa. After scoring 396 runs in 13 innings at an average of 49.50 in the IPL and suffering an injury after that, he hit the ground running for India A in South Africa, as he led the team to series win. The 27-year-old came out with the scores of 55, 41*, 86*, 93* and 32* and ended the tournament as the leading run-scorer.
Speaking after the fourth ODI which India won by a whopping margin of 168 runs, Pandey admitted that good returns with the bat in South Africa helped him to make an impressive comeback for the senior team.
“It definitely does really help a lot when you know that you have some runs in the bank,” he said of his runs tally during the tri-series. “You know you will eventually get a chance in the ODI side and you have to wait patiently for the chance. When you get it, you just bat the way you have been batting.
“Through the India A series, I batted very similar to the way I batted today. So it was not too different for me to come back. I have been batting well in the nets, and I just had to watch the ball and play,” he added.
He also revealed the game plan that was being handed over to him by head coach Ravi Shastri.
“I had a chat with Ravi [Shastri] yesterday and even today before the start of the game, about how I take some time before I start playing my natural game,” Pandey said. “I need to take at least six to 10 balls to know what the wicket is like. It was spinning a bit when the middle order got out. There were wickets falling on the other side, but I had to keep my calm and rotate the strike. Eventually, it came off for me.”
Pandey had walked in to bat after India lost three wickets in quick succession and were in danger of throwing away a good start after being reduced to 274 for five from 262 for two. However, the Karnataka star slammed a 42-ball 50 and along with MS Dhoni, who scored 49 off 42, shared an unbeaten partnership of 101 runs off just 50 balls to help the visitors put up a mammoth 375 for five in the allotted 50 overs.
Speaking about his experience of batting with Dhoni, Pandey said:
“I have played a few games with [Dhoni] already now, and I know how he plays. I know how he likes to rotate the strike. I like to bat with somebody who loves to do that. Occasionally we get some boundaries, and that’s how we keep the scoreboard ticking. With Mahi bhai, you are always on your toes, and he keeps giving you advice.”
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