“Feeling of playing with my childhood idol Rahul Dravid was surreal,” says Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey scored a brilliant 114* for RCB against Deccan Chargers in IPL 2009- first century by an Indian.

Manish Pandey called it a surreal experience batting alongside his childhood hero Rahul Dravid

Manish Pandey became a household name in India at the age of 19 when he became the first Indian player to hit a century in IPL during the 2009 edition which was held in South Africa. He was playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore at the time.

This knock is credited by him on choosing between cricket and army as he recalls,” It was my dad's dream. I never thought I'll become a cricketer when I was a kid. Dad was the one who used to bowl, and he would get the other Jawaansto to come and help us out. It was a good time there, great learning experiences. As an army kid, the first thing you have in your mind is that you must join the Army. That's the basic idea you have, you get attracted to that which I wanted a lot too. But after playing for the state, the dream changed to playing international cricket and to make a name for myself.”

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In an episode of the SpicyPitch YouTube show, Manish Pandey also revealed the feeling he had playing alongside his childhood hero Rahul Dravid in RCB. "When I was a kid, I used to look up to Rahul Dravid. I was always a big fan of his. The way he was disciplined towards his game and life, that was really good. When I was playing Under 19, I used to love to watch him bat. He used to stand in the first slip and I was standing in the second slip (while playing for RCB). That feeling was very surreal," said Pandey, cherishing those memorable moments,” Pandey said.

Manish Pandey was part of the 2008 U19 World Cup-winning Indian team, which had the likes of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. However, that IPL century in Centurion, which came against Deccan Chargers, put Pandey in annals of the tournament’s history.

Manish Pandey slammed 114* against Chargers in IPL 2009

He reveals, "Somebody got injured or we'd lost a couple of games, Anil Kumble was the captain of the team. After the practice session, he comes up and says in Kannada, 'Are you ready'? Something clicked and I said: 'Anil bhai, I'm ready for tomorrow'. And then again after two minutes he turned up and said, 'You might be opening the batting tomorrow'. It was like a small shock to me.

Pandey went onto crack 114* in 73 balls and talking about the knock, he says, ”The confidence level, the way I was thinking about the game, all of those little things did change after that hundred. It would have given me immense confidence."

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Manish Pandey made his India debut six years after that fateful hundred in IPL, under the leadership of MS Dhoni. He has fond memories of playing under the captaincy of the most successful Indian captain in terms of winning ICC trophies.

Manish Pandey with MS Dhoni | Deccan Chronicle"I can relate to MS [Dhoni] because he has that kind of a mindset which I know I can talk to him freely. I can talk to him about anything. The way he speaks about certain things about the game and even the lifestyle, I relate to it. Sometimes, we have sat and spoken about the Army and the things that we have done. Luckily, he was there in Zimbabwe and he was the captain. It was quite easy for me to go to him. I had also played a couple of IPL games against him. So, I knew him a bit. All in all, he was very helpful," Pandey signed off.

(Cricbuzz.com inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 17 May, 2020

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