Pandey’s coach says unorthodoxy is his biggest asset

Coach J. Arunkumar: He has played many special knocks when Karnataka has had a bad start. Manish will go in at 10 for two, and hit the first ball for a six. That is his general mental approach.

Manish Pandey's unbeaten century won him the man of the match award.   -  AP

Karnataka batting coach, J. Arunkumar, believes that Manish Pandey's unorthodox style is his best asset. Speaking after Pandey's match-winning century against Australia (at Sydney) on Saturday, Arunkumar said, “Manish is a very unorthodox batsman - this is his biggest strength. It is, therefore, quite tough for bowlers to identify his weaknesses. This is one of the main reasons why he has dominated the domestic scene. I hope that he continues to play his natural game in international cricket as well.”

It does not surprise Arunkumar that Pandey has delivered under pressure. “He has played many special knocks when Karnataka has had a bad start. Manish will go in at 10 for two, and hit the first ball for a six. That is his general mental approach. He also hates to lose, even if it is just a warm-up round of football with the Karnataka team,” Arunkumar said.

An ecstatic Irfan Sait, who has trained Pandey at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC) here for nearly two decades now, stated, “Manish has scored a hundred in such tough circumstances – his self-belief will be sky-high.”

Sait added that the 26-year-old did his homework before the Australia tour began. “During the recent KSCA Twenty20 tournament, Manish requested me to leave him out of the Jawans CC side for a few matches. This was because the tournament used red balls, while Manish wanted to train only with the white ball which is used in Australia.

He was desperate to do well for India, and began his preparation well in advance.”

Sait explained that Pandey is often wrongly perceived as a “laidback, casual” cricketer. “Yes, he always has a smile on his face. But let me tell you, he is one of the most dedicated and determined athletes around,” he said.