Pandya batting at No.3 gives good balance to Mumbai: Parthiv

Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) Mumbai Indians wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel on Friday said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya coming in to bat at No.3 ahead of other specialist batsmen gives a good balance to the team.

Mumbai Indians will meet Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier league (IPL) encounter at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

Mumbai, after losing to Rising Pune Supergiants in the tournament opener, came back strongly with an all-round show to thrash Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets on Wednesday.

“He (Pandya) is a quality player. He has a very good record in Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy batting at No.3 for Baroda. Here also he has got lot of runs. If he bats at No.3, it gives us a very good balance to the team. It gives Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler nice stage to bat on. I don’t think there is any thinking behind making him a better player. Playing for Mumbai Indians shows he has the ability to play,” Parthiv said here.

The 31-year-old said that the side will miss injured batsman Lendl Simmons, who has been ruled out of the tournament.

“Lendl has been a brilliant player for us in last two years. He has scored lot of runs. But this gives another player an opportunity or me. Last year, me and Lendl had a good partnership at the top, now it gives me the opportunity to open with Rohit Sharma. He is in great form. Rohit makes batting look easy, and that gives me a lot of confidence at the other end. We are sad that Lendl got injured, but that is something we can’t do much about,” he said.

Asked how helpful head coach Ricky Ponting is for the team, Parthiv said, “He (Ponting) always backs any player. He gives us the space and he tells us to go out there and play, he has played in that manner and also tells us the same. The positive energy he gives us is very good in the dressing room. If we win or lose, he makes sure the atmosphere is always balanced.”

“Like we made a comeback last year and even in the first game this year. I don’t think losing the first game made a big impact, I think we started fresh. I think he has been fantastic in handling the team,” Parthiv concluded.

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