Manish Pandey is an aggressive middle-order batsman and an extremely agile fieldsman. He originally hails from Uttaranchal, but is well known for his significant role in the Karnataka team at the domestic level. He has represented the state in the Under-17 and Under-19 level, and also played for India in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup held in Malaysia. His pedigree is the reason why Manish Pandey is the player that the Indian national team should invest in heavily !
Pandey was a part of the Mumbai camp in the inaugural Indian T20 league, 2008. Manish Pandey came into the limelight once again when he became the first Indian player to score a century in the IPL. He smashed an unbeaten 114 off 73 deliveries to propel the Royal Challengers Bangalore into the semi-finals of the tournament. He followed it up with a quick-fire 48 off 35 balls in the last four stages, making Bangalore reach the finals. His balanced match winning innings ascertained that people remember him for a long time to come.
Pandey proved that his IPL exploits were no flash in the pan, and that he had the stomach for larger battles too. He was the top run-getter in the 2009-10 Ranji season, scoring 882 runs that included four 100s and five 50s. Pandey had pretty much carried the chase of 338 on his shoulders, with only one other batsman crossing 50. Although his team ended up on the losing side in the finals, Pandey’s performance ensured that he was on the periphery of national selection. He was picked in the Board President’s XI to play against South Africa in early 2010, and scored a pleasing 43.
In the 2013-14 Ranji season, Pandey became the second highest run-getter for his side Karnataka. His exploits got him an IPL contract with Kolkata Knight Riders as the franchise bought him in the 2014 auctions.
Pandey’s role model is Rahul Dravid. And he has shown, on more than one occasion, that he can be a dependable player for his team, just like Dravid was for India. More recently as well, Pandey’s magnificent century, with batting assistance from Axar Patel, helped the India B team to reach the finals of Deodhar Trophy. However it is too early to draw any comparisons.
Despite his match winning knocks, Manish Pandey has not got enough number of chances to play for India. He does sensible batting and also delivers the best under pressure. Both are the characteristics of a big match player. And Pandey can as easily be considered as one.
Even in their last IPL match, when KKR were struggling at 21 for 3, he played a great innings and built a valuable partnership with Pathan. This helped KKR to register an enticing win.
Hope he continues to deliver and soon receives a well-deserved call to play for India in the upcoming Champions trophy along with others like Rishabh Pant and Nitish Rana!