Manish Pandey has a big role to play : With an aggregate of 256 runs from 7 innings (once unbeaten) at an average of 42.66, with 104 as his highest score including a century, a couple of half-centuries in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16 and with an aggregate of 212 runs from 5 innings (once unbeaten) at an average of 53.0 with 94* as his individual best including 2 half-centuries in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015, the 26-year old Manish Pandey, found himself travelling to Australia for the five-match ODI series and three-match T20Is.
Quite expectedly he was included in the Playing XI for the first encounter at Perth. Unfortunately his batting talent remained untested since he did not get an opportunity to bat as India, batting first, piled up 309 runs for the loss of just 3 wickets in 50 overs but unfortunately could not defend the same.
Pandey got a second opportunity in the second game at Brisbane. Going in to bat at No 6 in the 46th over, he lasted only for 5 deliveries and scored just 6 runs, including a boundary.
Even though India piled up 308 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 50 overs, they failed to defend the same yet again.
Manish was duly dropped for the third encounter at Melbourne which also India lost, failing to defend 295 runs put up by their batsmen.
The story was no different at Canberra, the venue of the fourth clash between the two teams. Pandey did not make it to the Playing XI.
Team India moved into Sydney, trailing 0-4 in the series, with just the fifth and final game to be played. They had to put their best foot forward to avoid a 0-5 whitewash. They had to play for pride and avoid a catastrophe.
Winning the toss, Aussies who were put into bat, did well to score 330 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 50 overs, backed by 122 runs scored by David Warner (his fifth ODI century) and a well made unbeaten 102* runs by Mitchell Marsh (maiden ODI century).
No team had succeeded in chasing 300+ runs against Australia in Australia.
India did just that. Aided by an unbeaten 104* runs off 81 balls with 8 fours and a six from the blade of Manish Pandey, India succeeded in trouncing the Aussies in their own backyard, chasing a record target.
Manish also has an impressive IPL career. Playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first three editions, he became the first ever player to register a century in the tournament.
His unbeaten 114* runs against Deccan Chargers in 2009, was the first ton in IPL history and since then he became one of the consistent run getter for his team.
Manish is a naturally gifted batsman and while his batting is more about timing and picking up gaps, he can also go for big hits.
Pandey spent 2011 to 2013 seasons with the now defunct Pune Warriors India and was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2014.
Since then he has been an integral part of KKR batting line up and has been instrumental in their winning the trophy for the second time in 2014.
Turning up for KKR, Pandey has played in 41 games and has notched up 874 runs at an average of 25.70 with 94 as his highest individual score.
Having been selected to the Indian squad touring Zimbabwe for a series of 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is, Manish would don the role of a senior player and would be required to shoulder greater responsibilities.
Pandey might even be drafted to open the innings and in which case he would be expected to play a key role in giving good starts to the team, both, while setting a target or chasing one.
Manish’s cool and composed approach has definitely been impressive and he should put all his efforts in improving his performance in every game that he gets to play.