In-form Manish Pandey makes strong case for Asia Cup selection

Manish Pandey couldn’t have timed his return to form more better, just ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup in September.

Manish Pandey notched up 306 runs in the Quadrangular Series, which included two fifties and one hundred.   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

Manish Pandey couldn’t have timed his return to form better. Ahead of India’s next ODI assignment, the Asia Cup slated to be held this September in the UAE, the 28-year-old has scored heavily (306) in his four outings in the Quadrangular Series, including two fifties and one hundred.

“If you have runs under your belt before a selection, it obviously gives you confidence,” said Pandey. “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.”

Pandey came into this tournament on the back of a middling IPL during which he scored just 284 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He then played the two T20 internationals against Ireland before sitting out of the entire limited-overs series in England.  Pandey attributed the latest uptick in his form to the extra time the 50-over format afforded him and also the responsibility of captaining his side (India 'B').

Read: All-round India-B clinches Quadrangular Series

“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."

"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 added.

Coming as it does when the Indian middle-order wears an unsettled look, with Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina both battling poor form and Kedar Jadhav, who featured alongside Pandey here, on the comeback trail from an injury layoff, it can only augur well for the Karnataka batsman.