Indian batsman Manish Pandey, on Wednesday, admitted that he has endured a tough time waiting for his chances before insisting that he has what it takes to be a regular pick in the star-studded middle-order, if handed a longer rope.
But not being a regular, Pandey said, has been playing on his mind. “Especially on this tour, I have felt it a lot actually,” he said. “But you have to wait your chances, especially playing for a team like India when you have so many stars, and legends in the line-up.”
The 28-year-old said that he found the going tough to emulate the likes of senior players Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, who has won matches batting at No 5, “The people who have batted at No 5 before me have been guys like Raina, Yuvraj. To step into their shoes is a little tough but it has been a couple of years until now that the Indian batting line-up is doing really well. I think you have to be very patient for your chances.”
After making a 27-ball 29 in the last T20I, in which the rest of his teammates scored at least at a strike-rate of 130, Manish Pandey came good on the second match with a 48-ball 79. His unbeaten knock, however, went in vain as South Africa overhauled India’s 188 with eight balls to spare.
But India would look positively the way Pandey batted with MS Dhoni, who scored his second T20I fifty (52 off 28 balls). For, in the ODI series and in the last T20I, the lower-middle order failed at getting the big shots in the death overs.
But the SuperSport Park in Centurion holds good memories for Pandey. He made his only T20 hundred in the 2009 Indian Premier League, that first put him in the spotlight.
Pandey remembered his accomplishment at the venue. “I was waiting to play here,” he told the media after Wednesday’s game. “Even in the ODIs I was waiting to play here. I still remember the 100 I got here 9-10 years ago.”
‘I can deliver a lot more’
Pandey mostly spoke about his position in the batting line-up. In T20Is he’s batted at No 4 (156 runs in seven innings), No 5 (187 in five innings) and No 6 (four runs in two innings). Though he, on many occasions, wants more time while batting lower than No 4, Pandey conceded that he could improve his batting to maximise his innings.
“Sometimes I feel that because I bat at No 5 most of the times. I’ve got a few chances got chances at No 4, I’ve delivered. But the batting combination sometimes pushes me down to No 5. I have tried my bit but I also feel that I could also probably do a little bit more with myself.”
“As you know, India have a really good top line up and the top-3 bat till 30-35 overs and with Mahi coming ahead of me. But yeah, some more chances and I wish I could deliver more. And I feel I can deliver a lot more than what I am doing right now,” he said.