Playing for India B in the ongoing Quadrangular "A" series and having hit some really fine form, Manish Pandey says that it is the strive to deserve higher opportunities regularly at the top level that keeps him motivated and hungry to perform whenever he gets a chance to prove a point for himself.
Manish has seen substantial highs and lows in a career, which hasn't quite taken off like it should've after that matchwinning hundred in a run-chase in Sydney. He has fallen behind in the pecking order too, with other candidates also claiming for a spot in the middle order for both the limited overs formats.
Manish was part of the squad for the tours to Ireland and England recently and didn't quite get a proper a chance to bat. He has now put together scores of 117, 95* and 21* before India travels to the United Arab Emirates for the Asia Cup in late September and hopes that these runs scored for India B will help his case immensely.
"Personally, I just think about batting. I'm looking at the middle order at the moment, trying to seal that position, This series was a proving ground to get some runs and get looked at for the Asia Cup. I want to enjoy myself, there is competition, but I want to focus on what I do best." Pandey was quoted saying.
Pandey feels that the three-week gap that he took after coming back from England, where he didn't play, has helped him mentally freshen up.
He said, "I wasn't feeling good, so I took a three-week break after the UK tour, I wanted to switch off, took time off the game, and then used the time to focus on a couple of niggles and get myself mentally fresh. That seems to have helped."
Manish also thinks that it is trying too hard in the past that has often led to his downfall. He struggled after being picked for a handsome price tag by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2018.
"I think it's never easy batting lower down the order with few overs remaining in T20s, But you have to be ready for the chances because you wait for so long." Manish said, "The more games I play in that situation, it will help me prepare for tough situations. There are always learnings you try and take out of such situations. That's what I also did."
"In the IPL, I struggled, yes. I wasn't reacting to situations like I normally do, maybe that's also because I was batting lower down. At KKR, I had a set role in the top three. Batting elsewhere made it tougher for me, but I can't offer excuses. I have to accept the reality as it is and try and work my game around these tough situations."
He concluded by saying how he feels better now, "I'm in a better frame of mind now, sometimes a break does that to you, Runs made for India A count, and getting big runs here is a boost for me ahead of a big season. I have done it in the past as well, so there's definitely no doubting my own ability. It's about being in a good head-space and I think that's what I've worked on doing."
"When there is a lot of competition, every opportunity counts. I have worked out my game well, and I'm looking forward to continuing this form."
(Inputs from ESPNCricinfo)