Manish Pandey's childhood coach Irfan Sait believes his disciple can become a big name in Indian cricket if he receives fair opportunities.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced India's 20-man squad for the upcoming Sri Lankan tour on Thursday (June 10). Three players have returned to India's white-ball team, including Karnataka's right-handed batsman Manish Pandey.
The 31-year-old has not played a single international game this year with his last appearance in international cricket coming on December 4, 2020, in a T20I game against Australia.
Pandey also lost his annual central contract. Still, the selectors have given him one more chance to prove himself in the international arena.
Pandey's childhood coach Irfan Sait spoke to Insidesport.co after the Indian squad announcement. Here's what he had to say about his disciple's upcoming tour:
“Manish Pandey is a fierce competitor. He loves the challenges. The more the challenges, the better he will apply himself and work harder. I think if Manish is given a fair chance, Indian selectors will be hard-pressed for his choice. If he gets a fair opportunity, he can display his talent and I am very, very optimistic that he will do extremely well."
Manish Pandey's scoring rate has been an area of concern
While Manish Pandey is currently one of the top batsmen in the country, his strike rate in T20 cricket has been an issue. His T20I strike rate is 126.16, while his scoring rate in IPL 2021's first phase was less than 125. He even lost his place in the Sunrisers Hyderabad playing XI for the same reason.
Since Pandey will most probably bat in the middle order during the Sri Lanka series, the team management will expect him to score runs at a quicker rate. That definitely remains a challenge for him going by his recent form.