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Manish Pandey: The fault in his stars

Harsh Gupta
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
21 Nov 2019, 18:28 IST

South Africa v India - T20 International
South Africa v India - T20 International

0,1,0,1,4,4. These are the first 6 balls that Manish Pandey faced in the recently concluded T20I series vs Bangladesh. Good first 6 balls? Sure. But first 6 balls of only the 13 balls he faced in total. Overlooked for the first and second T20Is, Manish Pandey came into the playing XI at the cost of Krunal Pandya. Being a career top-order batsman, it was logical enough to expect him to come in at the earliest, ideally at no.3 but at most no.4 or no.5. Beyond that, it would have been a waste of Pandey's abilities and more importantly a slot in the playing XI. But hard-hitting batsmen KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant were preferred instead. Shreyas Iyer got starts in first and second T20Is and so did Rishabh in the first, but Rahul was not only without a decent score but also out of form. Well, the gamble paid off.

Also see - Ranji schedule

Manish Pandey came into the T20I series on the back of a golden run, taking Karnataka over the line in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and scoring 525 runs from just 9 innings at an unbelievable average of 105. He made sure that whenever he came out to bat in the tournament, the opposition felt his presence. His last 8 scores preceding the series read 20*, 34*, 67*, 62, 50, 142*, 48 & 50. The one time, he got out without scoring a fifty was the only time Karnataka lost a match in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His international record isn't despicable either, he averages a noteworthy 39.13 in T20Is after playing 27 innings which is significantly higher than the likes of Rohit Sharma (32.13) and Shikhar Dhawan (27.85).

Such performances should have earned him more than 13 balls. Nevertheless, he gave India a good finish in the 3rd T20I. Immediately after that, he went back to the domestic scene and scored an unbeaten 129 in Karnataka's very first match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

The ODI and T20I squad for the WI series will be announced on 21st November and Manish Pandey's future is still uncertain. The clock is ticking for Manish Pandey and he is doing whatever he can in the very few opportunities he gets.

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