Harare, June 9 (IANS) Despite not being a regular in the playing XI, Manish Pandey has impressed in the limited opportunities and now the promising middle-order bat hopes to cement his place with some good knocks during the Zimbabwe tour.
The Karnataka batsman, who made his international debut during the last tour of the African country in 2015, has played only four One-Day Internationals (ODIs) but his unbeaten 104 against Australia to chase down a mammoth 332 in Sydney caught everyone’s attention.
Notwithstanding the impressive performances, the fierce competition in the national side forced Pandey to warm the bench on most occasions but the 28-year-old now wants to make sure he is a regular member of the playing XI.
“This is again going to be a fresh start. We were there last year around the same time and I made my debut in Zimbabwe. It is good to go back there and share those memories, score some runs for India and do my duty,” he was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
“My goal is to keep performing and make sure that I fit into that Indian XI and become a permanent member of the squad. My goal for the next couple of years is to be a part of the Indian team and to win games for India. I am working hard towards that and I want to achieve that.”
With the standards of fielding in international cricket getting higher, Pandey, who is also remembered for his stunning catch in the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai in 2010, said he devotes as much time to fielding as his batting.
“I spend as much time on fielding as I spend on my batting. Fielding is a very important part of the game. Some great catches and run-outs definitely change the momentum of the game. I make sure I give enough time to my fielding which helps in my resume as I am a (specialist) batsman,” Pandey, who holds the record for being the first Indian to hit a century in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) said.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led current squad is relatively inexperienced, with five uncapped players but Pandey feels it is a good mix and he is ready to help the debutants in the team.
“All of us have either played in the same team in domestic cricket or against each other. It is a good mix of boys that we have. I am young and have just started my international career. This is an opportunity for me to prove myself again and also take care of the youngsters and help them,” he said.
India will take on the hosts in three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals with the first game to be played on June 11 at the Harare Sports Club here.