Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Manish Pandey ready to bat at any position
Though he prefers to bat at the No 4 spot, Pandey admits that it is more important to cement his spot in the side no matter where he bats.
What's the story?
With the intense competition for places in the Indian ODI side, Manish Pandey said that he is open to batting at any position as the team deems fit.
The 24-year-old who is returning from a lengthy injury-layoff, however, made his preference known for the No. 4 spot as it allows him time to settle in before going for the big shots.
"The game I played in Australia, I batted no.4. That's where I normally bat, and that's where I know how many overs I have to play. That's where I have batted my entire career.
"Batting at no.5 or no.6 was a bit new for me during the New Zealand series, and I think it took me some time to get used to that situation with only 15-odd overs left in the game. You can't settle in from that position," said Pandey.
Pandey's biggest threat to his favourite spot in the batting order is KL Rahul who looks set to be slated in that position in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Pandey is not complaining though.
"KL has been batting really well in the Tests. If the team thinks somebody else can do that role really well, I would love to see that happen," Pandey said. "Whatever the management decides on the batting order, we abide by that. "
In case you didn't know...
Manish Pandey has not played an ODI since the fifth and final match of the 2016 series against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam owing to injury.
He made his comeback recently with the India A side in the tour of South Africa and was recalled to the national side and is expected to be a regular in the playing eleven in the 5-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Having been forced to sit out the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the subsequent ODI series against West Indies, Pandey is hopeful of cementing his place in the Indian ODI side having been preferred to Yuvraj Singh by the national selectors for the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka tour.
Speaking about his return from injury, he had spoken of his desire to bat higher up the order but admitted that his preference could hold little value when the Indian team management sits down to sort out the batting order.
Pandey agreed with former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar's comments that India is expected to win easily against Sri Lanka having whitewashed the hosts 3-0 in the Test series, but warned the side against complacency.
The five-match ODI series between India and Sri Lanka begins at Dambulla on August 20 before the action moves to Pallekele and then Colombo with the final match being played on September 3.
The lone T20I will also be played at Colombo on September 6.
Following his fantastic performances in the Test series against Sri Lanka, selection committee chief MSK Prasad had commented that KL Rahul will be batting at the No 4 spot in the ODIs against Sri Lanka though it remains to be seen whether skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri think likewise.
Both Rahul and Pandey are extremely talented cricketers who have to be groomed in time for the 2019 World Cup and the series against Sri Lanka should provide the visitors the chance to experiment in that aspect.