Manish Pandey called in to replace injured Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane has suffered a fracture on his right index finger and has been ruled out of the fourth and fifth Tests of India's ongoing series against England.

Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey has expressed his delight on earning a maiden call-up to the Indian Test team.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Ajinkya Rahane sustained an avulsion fracture on his right index finger.   -  PTI

Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey has replaced vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who has been ruled of the fourth and fifth Tests in Mumbai and Chennai.

The BCCI’s medical team has confirmed that Rahane sustained an avulsion fracture on his right index finger while batting and he has been ruled out for the remaining two Test matches.

The BCCI has also called up Shardul Thakur as a cover for Mohammed Shami >who is down with a sore knee .

Manish Pandey has expressed his delight on earning a maiden call-up to the Indian Test team. The 27-year-old Karnataka batsman was named as replacement for the injured Ajinkya Rahane for the remaining two Test matches against England.

"It's very sudden," Pandey said on the phone from Mohali where he was with the Karnataka team for its Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra. "From playing the first day of a Ranji Trophy match and to being called up to join the Indian team the next day. But it's a great feeling. I am looking forward to playing and making it count."

Pandey though admitted that it had been a long wait especially for one who made his first class debut back in 2008. "It's definitely been a long wait. But better late than never," he said. "It’s a big deal. Ever since you start playing first class cricket, you dream about playing for India."

In his most recent stint with the national side, the ODI series against New Zealand, Pandey couldn't quite attain the standards he had set during his match-winning century against Australia early this year.

"The only thing to improve would be in the way I approach my batting wherever I play," he explained. "I am used to the No. 4 slot. But against New Zealand I mostly batted at No. 6 and it was a good challenge."

"In India batsmen tend to get runs upfront. There are very few overs for a No. 6 batsmen to play with."

Ever since that series, Pandey has turned out for Karnataka in only two Ranji Trophy matches and split a webbing too. But two half centuries against Saurashtra in the last round — albeit in a losing cause — should give him confidence.

Pandey was also delighted to join forces with India coach Anil Kumble again, someone with whom he has had a long association since the Indian Premier League days in 2009 when Kumble was his captain at Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“It’s feels great. Even during the New Zealand series, we spoke a lot about batting and stuff. I am really looking forward to going back to him.”