Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra feels Manish Pandey will need to score a hundred in the third ODI to make a case for himself in the Indian squad.
Pandey scored 26 runs off 40 balls in the first ODI against Sri Lanka but he should have remained unbeaten as there was no pressure of the required run rate.
Subsequently, Pandey was looking good in the second ODI against the hosts as he raced to 37 runs off just 31 but didn’t have the rub of the green on his side as he was run out in an unfortunate manner.
Pandey has all the experience under his bag but he hasn’t been able to grab his chances while playing for the national team. In fact, Pandey has played only six ODIs in India’s last 90 matches, which goes to show that he has been out of the team consistently.
However, as the experienced batsman has an impressive List A average of 45.23, he keeps making the cut in the Indian squad. But there is no doubt that Pandey is running against time for his place in the side as the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer are pushing for a place in the final XI in the squad.
“Pandey ji will have to score a century in the last match if he has to strengthen his case. Manish Pandey is on a slightly slippery slope. He is a good player, we all like him because he gives his 110 percent whenever he is on the field, puts in the dives, he is a gun fielder, one of the best that India has,” Chopra said on his Youtube channel.
“He has batted okay in both ODIs, he did get out playing a bad shot in the first ODI. That is something I felt bad about because he has been given the No.4 position in the Indian ODI batting lineup, no one gets it because there is such a long list of good players, it is enough even if you get to play and if you get, it is at No.5 or No.6.”
Chopra added that the competition in India’s middle order is tough and Pandey needs to make the most of these chances to make a case for himself.
“In the second innings, he was so unfortunate that you and I can’t really complain. The expectation is that he scores runs in the third match and consolidates his position. He has done just about enough that you will keep his name in the reckoning but the road ahead is not easy.”
“The player who came after him, 31 not out in the first match and more than fifty in the second match. The player who went above him scored fifty in the first match and got dismissed in the second match. When you have a fight like that and Shreyas Iyer is sitting out, he will also come.
Rahul, Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli – these four anyways play, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya – there are very few places,” Chopra concluded.