Pandey hopes to build on Sydney gains
Manish Pandey, whose maiden ODI century in Sydney lifted India to the highest successful chase against Australia in Australia, has said that he is keen to build on the gains made in the series. His unbeaten 104 helped India chase down 331 in the last game of the five-match series, preventing a 5-0 series sweep for Australia.
"Getting a hundred at the international level is always a big achievement and it was my first one. So somewhere I have an idea [of what I have done]. Looking at the bigger picture, I would say it is a very good start to my international career," Pandey told PTI. "I want to take my Australia experience forward to my next innings, try to play the same way. But yes, what I did in Australia will be definitely act as a confidence booster for me."
Pandey was part of India Under-19s' title-winning campaign in 2008. The next year he became the first Indian to hit a century in the Indian Premier League, in a must-win game for his team. He has also been a consistent performer for his state side, Karnataka. Pandey got his maiden call-up to the India squad for a one-off T20 international against West Indies in 2014. The visiting side, however, abandoned their tour midway because of a payment structure dispute between the players, the WICB, and the West Indies Players' Association.
Pandey was then part of a second-string India squad to Zimbabwe in July 2015, where he made 71 on debut. In Australia, he managed only six runs in the second ODI in Brisbane, and was left out for the subsequent two matches, but stepped up in Sydney to help India clinch a thriller. Pandey, though, said that he will not rest on the Sydney hundred and will look to step up further.
"I have waited for long [to play for India] and I finally I got the opportunity I was looking for in the last one-dayer. That is how I normally bat. I wanted to make full use of the opportunity and I think I did. So job well done but I won't be banking on this performance in the games to come.
"It was a long wait but I was not thinking about it to be honest. It was all about making full use of the chances I got in the middle. I thought I was ready as I had good runs behind me and a lot of experience with regards to first-class cricket. And that is what Ravi (Shastri) sir told me there. Mahi (Dhoni) was also very supportive."
Pandey was not picked in the squad for the Australia T20s, but has made his way into the squad for the three-match T20 series at home against Sri Lanka, and is also in the selection mix for the World T20, beginning March 8.