Mandeep Singh’s opportunity to vindicate selectors’ decision of picking him up : 24-year old Mandeep Singh of Punjab, has been ‘on a roll’ with his batting exploits.
Having scored 498 runs from 9 matches (15 innings) at an average of 35.57, 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries in Ranji Trophy 2015-16, 394 runs from 7 games (7 innings) at an average of 65.66, 2 centuries and 1 half-century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015, Mandeep has carried his excellent form into the Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2016 also.
He now has 3,970 runs in First Class at an average of 44.21 and 235 as his individual best. In the limited over format (50 overs) he has an accumulation of 2,176 runs at an average of 39.56 with 119 as his personal high and in the T20 format he has a tally of 1,837 runs at an average of 25.16 with 77* as his individual best.
These decent numbers enabled him to be selected for the Indian squad that is currently touring Zimbabwe for ODIs and T20Is series under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Being in the company of stalwarts like AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh etc in the RCB dugout during the IPL 2015, had given a lot of confidence to this Punjab youngster and the same was clearly visible during his outings in Ranji Trophy 2015-16, Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015 and the Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2016.
However, he continued to be with RCB in IPL 2016 but could not get sufficient opportunity to play, given the packed middle order of RCB.
Mandeep has been the mainstay of Punjab batting line-up and has played quite a few stellar innings. The youngster was part of the Indian probables for the previous edition of T20I World Cup.
Earlier in the year, speaking to cricbuzz, Mandeep had said, “As of now I’m looking to win matches for Punjab, but definitely on the back of the mind, there is the (thought) that I should get a chance (to play for India) sooner rather than later. That’s more with the performance, and if I keep on performing like this then definitely (a call up in on the cards) why not?”
Well, BCCI seemed to have heard him and duly put him on the plane to Zimbabwe. It’s now for the Punjab youngster to make every opportunity count and vindicate the selectors’ decision of picking him up in the squad.