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November 4, 2009
Manish Pandey, the Karnataka batsman, has said his unbeaten 194 on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match against a strong Uttar Pradesh is the sort of innings that could pitchfork him to the next level. There were plenty of expectations at the start of the season on Pandey (20), who has a modest first-class record but burst into the limelight by becoming the first Indian to make a century in the IPL earlier this year.
"Last year was not great for me, I had just two half-centuries though I did well in the one-dayers and the IPL," he told reporters after Tuesday's play in Meerut. "This is just the kind of knock you need for your career to take off. It is my first first-class hundred, I really feel good about it."
Karnataka were struggling at 27 for 3 against an attack including RP Singh and Piyush Chawla, when Pandey and Rahul Dravid forged a 273-run stand to bail their team out. "When I walked in, Rahulbhai told me that the need of the hour was to stay put," he said. "He told me build a small partnership. Later, when I had spent enough time on the pitch, I played my natural game."
Pandey, considered as more of a Twenty20 player, spent nearly four hours at the crease, longer than the duration of a Twenty20 match. "I realised that the longer I stay, the more I can score," he said. "During this innings, I learnt how to stay calm and wait for loose balls."
He was out on Wednesday morning without adding to his overnight score but the knock would have cheered Karnataka, for whom one of the big problems last season was the lack of support from the younger batsmen for an in-form Robin Uthappa.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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