Friday, January 15, 2010

I like Manish Pandey

(Also on
Yes, I like Manish Pandey. I liked Pandey when he threw caution to the winds in the IPL last year to score that 114 against the Deccan Chargers. I liked the fact that it was in South Africa that he got the hundred, and not in India. I liked the fact that he was happy to hook and pull. I liked the fact that he had a stroke for every delivery, and had natural footwork to back him.

Then I liked Manish Pandey in the Ranji Trophy final on Wednesday and Thursday. The top order had fallen. There were three India discards bowling with a fair bit of pace on a track that offered good bounce. Manish slammed 144 off 151 balls to give Karnataka a chance. He pulled the pacers with ease. He appeared to be a compulsive hooker, which may or may not be a good thing. But not once did he hook or pull without watching the ball till the last moment. I haven’t seen a single top-notch Indian batsman do that except Rahul Dravid.

Why isn’t he in the Indian team yet then? Well, for starters, he has been a bit inconsistent. He is also a bit of an impulsive chappie, who wants to hit every ball for a boundary or more. And though he was brilliant while he lasted in the Ranji final, it was his all-or-nothing attitude that seemed to mess it up for him in the end. He seems to be the sort who can be very exciting, but not very dependable.

Which also suggests that he can be a good T20 or ODI prospect, but not a Test prospect.
And that’s the mistake we might end up making.
Manish clearly has the talent, the strokes, and the ability to become a great Test batsman, and I use the word ‘great’ knowing I will be accused of using it too loosely. He has a good cut. He has a good cover drive. He has a good hook and a good pull. Plus a neat flick around mid-wicket. But more than all these things, he has presence. He ‘looks’ like a good cricketer. Something that I last saw in Murali Kartik – when he walked out to the field, he looked like a cricketer.

Manish Pandey has that. The right attitude. Possibly one for the future then.