I was okay with Hardik Pandya batting at number four, says Manish Pandey
What's the story?
One of Indian team's major issues coming into the ODI series against Australia was their batting order and choosing the right man for the number 4 slot in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.
KL Rahul and Manish Pandey were competing for the spot and Manish failed in the first two matches. He was still retained in the playing XI for the third ODI but the fans were surprised to see Hardik Pandya walking out to bat at that position ahead of Manish.
The Karnataka batsman clarified that it was the decision taken by the team management before he went on to praise Pandya for his matured knock.
"I was okay with that. That's what the plan of the team was. The plan is sometimes when the spinners are on, somebody who is a little more aggressive with the bat would be padded up. That is our plan. That's what Ravi Bhai said in the meeting.
"We all were fine with that and it paid off. Hardik played really well as he scored a half-century. It is good for the middle order to have someone who can bat anywhere in the batting order. I am ready to bat at number 5 and if a wicket or two falls early on, our middle order is talented enough to carry on the team from there and win the match," said Pandey speaking to the media ahead of the fourth Test.
In case you didn't know...
After getting out for 0 and 3 in the first two matches, Manish Pandey's place in the team was in danger as his competitor for the number 4 spot, KL Rahul, was waiting in the wings to grab his opportunity.
Unlike what happened to Rahul in Sri Lanka, the Indian team gave the Kolkata Knight Riders batsman one more chance in the third ODI and Pandey responded with an unbeaten 36 off 32 balls and took the team home.
Chasing 293 to win the third ODI and the series, Indian openers took the team off to a flying start as they put on 139 runs for the opening wicket in 21 overs and set the tone for the team.
After Rohit (71) and Rahane (70) were dismissed in quick succession, Hardik Pandya came out to bat and shared a couple of good partnerships with Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey to seal the series for India.
Pandya was adjudged the Man of the Match for his innings of 78 off 72 balls and 1-58 with the ball.
It is good to see the Indian middle order batsmen being ready to bat wherever the team management wants them to. At the same time, the coach and the captain should make sure that the decision to move someone down the order should not affect his confidence.
Manish is likely to play both the matches and a big innings in one of the two batches will help him seal the spot in the playing XI.