In-form Pandey puts himself in contention

Manish Pandey racked up 306 runs from four games in the recently concluded Quadrangular series. PTI File Photo

For a batsman, timing is the most important component of his game -- not just how you time the ball to score runs but when you stack them up.

Manish Pandey, who led India ‘B’ to title in the Quadrangular series a couple of days back, couldn’t have timed his return to form any better. With the Asia Cup squad to be announced on Saturday, the stylish right-handed batsman made a strong case for himself by racking up 306 runs from four games. 

Pandey isn’t the one to shy away from taking his chances. When he is in full flow, the Karnataka player is an entertaining batsman to watch. But this approach also generates a lot of opportunities for the bowlers to dismiss him. Considering this, it was indeed a special effort from the 28-year-old to remain unbeaten in all his four innings. 

“I feel it’s become comfortable for me to play at number 4, where I generally anchor the innings. This is something that has come with practice. I worked a lot to understand when to attack and how to alter the pace of my innings. Now it comes easy for me to shift gears during an innings,” Pandey told DH on Friday. 

Pandey last played the 50-over format for the country in 2017 in the tour of Sri Lanka. While he never got a chance to play in the five-match series against hosts South Africa, he faced the axe from the ODI squad for the England tour.

“There is no denying the strong competition that exists in Indian cricket. But for me, the biggest challenge of ODI cricket was to adjust to different batting positions. When you bat at number 4, the scenario is generally about building an innings whereas I also walked into bat at number 6, where sometimes you have less time to get your eye in,” explained Pandey, who has also batted at number 5 with little success. 

Ever since he made his ODI debut three years ago, Pandey has struggled to cement his place in the side. While injuries have troubled the Karnataka batsman, inconsistency has been another issue.

“The Quadrangular series was indeed a good experience for me but I never doubted myself. Because when you are playing well, you are very clear in your head. Despite runs not coming your way, you are confident. I have changed a lot as a batsman since five years. I show a lot of patience and plan my innings better. Earlier I would concentrate on attacking more but now I take my time,” he said.  

 

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In-form Pandey puts himself in contention

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