Aakash Chopra has opined that Manish Pandey should be played in the middle order in the ODI series against Sri Lanka and not higher up the order.
Manish Pandey has had intermittent stints with Team India at the international level. He has played just 26 ODIs and 39 T20Is after having made his debut way back in 2015.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra acknowledged that Manish Pandey has given his best in the IPL up the order. However, the reputed commentator feels that might not be the right spot for the Karnataka batsman in the Sri Lanka series. He said:
“When he [Pandey] plays for his team in the IPL, he bats up the order, he does well there but when you move him down the order, his performances go pale. You can think about batting him up the order, he might score runs there as well but then it won’t solve your problem at all.”
Chopra highlighted that Team India has better top-order batting options than Manish Pandey. He elaborated:
“You have more exciting options than him to bat up the order, whether it is Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan – you have plenty of options. You don’t have too many places in the top order in the first team as well.”
Team India is likely to open with Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan, with Suryakumar Yadav almost certain to bat at No. 3. Manish Pandey can only get to bat at No. 4 or lower in such a scenario, if he is included in the playing XI.
“You should play Manish Pandey if you have picked him” – Aakash Chopra
While acknowledging that Suryakumar Yadav is almost a sure-shot pick in India’s playing XI, Aakash Chopra feels Manish Pandey’s experience should earn him a spot in the middle order.
“In the middle-order you will definitely play SKY, there is no doubt about that. You should play Manish Pandey if you have picked him. You don’t make him bat in the top three because a spot can be created only down the order.”
The former India cricketer signed off by stating that Manish Pandey can play the finisher’s role alongside Hardik Pandya.
“If he is able to make or break down the order, great but if it doesn’t happen, no problem. You can see what happens by batting him at No.5, you can keep Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya together at No.5 and No.6.”
With plenty of young and talented cricketers in the reckoning for a spot in India’s limited-overs side, the Sri Lanka tour might just be the final opportunity for Manish Pandey to keep himself in the mix.