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Manish Pandey’s timely return to form might win him an Asia Cup spot

The Indian middle-order is the only area which needs to be addressed.

Manish Pandey
Indian cricketer Manish Pandey. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian middle-order batsman Manish Pandey had a below par IPL 2018 averaging a shade below 26, which saw him lose his ODI spot for India. However, the recent Quadrangular Series held in India between – India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A, saw Pandey return to form.

With the Asia Cup looming large and with the weight of runs behind Pandey, he has a bright chance of returning to the ODI side for the five-team tournament which kickstarts from September 15 in the UAE. The middle-order batsman tallied 306 runs across four innings and remained unbeaten on each occasion during India B’s victorious campaign in the Quadrangular Series.

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“If you have runs under your belt before a selection, it obviously gives you confidence, I feel quite good about the way I played. I had clear plans in my head and in the four matches I pretty much executed all of those. So very happy,” said Manish as quoted by The Hindu.

Batting higher up the order gave me time to build an innings

Pandey was floated up and down in the batting order in the ODI side and never had a fixed batting position which was one of the reasons of him eventually getting dropped. He pointed out the reason for his resurrection was a fixed batting spot as he batted at No. 4 throughout the tournament.

“Batting at No.4 gave me a lot of time,” he said. “When I was 19 and 20 I didn’t know how to bat in a one-day game. I thought it was very similar to T20 where I used to bat a lot. Now after playing for so many years, I know how to bat through the middle overs, rotate the strike and take chances when I have to,”

Pandey also revealed that the added responsibility of leading the side was one of the reasons for his good showings. “And captaincy gave me the extra sense of responsibility. To take care of the team and play No.4 is like being the backbone of the side. I love to play that role and happy that I could do that this well,” he quipped.

The Indian middle-order is the only area which needs to be addressed. With Suresh Raina running out of steam, the selectors might place their punt on Pandey yet again. However, there are chances of MSK Prasad-led selection panel to go with Kedar Jadhav, who will be a part-time bowling option.

~ Written by Adnan Khan

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