India’s newest batting star Manish Pandey said No 4 is the slot where he feels most comfortable batting as it helps him build an innings like he did during his match-winning century against Australia in the fifth and final ODI in Sydney.
Pandey’s innings could lead to a selection conundrum once Ajinkya Rahane, who normally bats at No 4, recovers from his webbing injury. Incidentally, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes that “No 5” is Pandey’s ideal position.
“Batting at No 4 is my forte. It suits my batting style. In the earlier two matches, I did not get much time to bat. My style is to play the first three or four deliveries to gauge the pitch and change my style accordingly. It’s difficult to boundaries every ball, so you need to take the singles and twos and then capitalise on the loose deliveries,” Pandey told bcci.tv after the match.
While Pandey wants to push his case for the No 4 slot, his limited overs captain feels otherwise.
“The kind of innings Manish has played today will give him an extra 10-15 ODIs, where you can really settle in and start to do what you need to at the international level, adapting to the demands of the game. A lot will change when you play at different venues and in different conditions. As of now he is someone who looks good at No 5,” Dhoni had said after the match.
The Karnataka batsman was modesty personified when he gave Dhoni, the credit for hitting a winning six in the last over.
“When we were batting together, I told Mahi bhai that one or two sixes will do it for us. Luckily, the bowler (Mitchell Marsh) missed the length and that six was the turning point of the match,” said the 27-year-old Bangalore lad.
Pandey said that in his mind, he had visualised before the start that he will have a good day.
“I had pictures in my mind about raising my bat, kissing the helmet. There were nerve-wrecking moments. It was good that my partnership with everybody (with Rohit Sharma and Dhoni) came off.
“This is one of the most thrilling games that I have been a part of. Especially being out there in the middle. Seeing the team through playing those deliveries,” said Pandey, who is also the first Indian centurion in IPL.