India batsman Manish Pandey on Wednesday (February 21) opened up about his batting position in the current T20I setup, saying that he would like to be given more opportunities at No. 4 or 5. Manish scored a scintillating 48-ball 79 while batting at No. 5 in the second T20I against South Africa in Centurion.
“I bat at No. 5 most of the times. Sometimes I got chances at No. 4, I’ve delivered. Also the batting combination sometimes pushes me down to No. 5. I have tried my bit but I also feel that I could also probably do a little bit more with myself. India have a really good line up and the top three bat till 30-35 overs, with Virat Kohli there, and with Mahi (MS Dhoni) coming ahead of me. But yeah, some more chances and I wish I could deliver more. And I feel I can deliver a lot more than what I am doing right now,” Pandey said while addressing the media after the match.
Manish came at the crease when India were tottering at 45 for 3. However, he was determined to do well since it was only the second opportunity that he has got in the entire limited-overs series against South Africa. Pandey added a 45-run stand for the fourth wicket with Suresh Raina (30 off 24 balls) before finishing the innings with an unbeaten 98-run partnership with MS Dhoni (52* off 28 balls).
When asked about the last five overs wherein India plundered 64 runs to reach 188 for 4, Manish said: “Mahi just woke up. I thought the South African cricket team bowled well. It is just that a couple of inside edges went to the boundary and some great shots by Mahi took us to 188, but South Africa bowled fairly well today.”
The 28-year-old Pandey also admitted that he was itching to play at the SuperSport Park – the same venue where he became the first Indian to score an IPL ton back in 2009.
“I was waiting to play here. Even in the one-dayers, I was trying to squeeze my chances in but that didn’t happen. Centurion has always been good to me, I still remember the 100 I got here (in IPL) nine-ten years ago,” he said.
Talking about the struggle as he was not getting the chances to feature in the playing XI, Manish said: “Honestly it’s a little tough and it works on your mind a lot. Especially on this tour, I have felt it a lot actually. But it’s okay, it’s part of the game and you have to wait your chances, especially playing for a team like India when you have so many stars and legends after legends in the line-up.
“It’s tough, playing for India at No. 5. The people who have batted at No. 5 before me have been guys like (Suresh) Raina, Yuvraj (Singh). To fill their shoes is a little tough but it has been a couple of years till now that the Indian batting line-up is doing really well. I think you have to be very patient for your chances. From ball one, you have to go for it. That’s what I tried in the first game, I played a little slow, but it happens when you play after a long time. Today was a good day for me. It is (a thankless position), but I just want to squeeze my chances in there,” he concluded.