Sunrisers Hyderabad has emerged as the most dominant team of this season. Ranked no. 1 at the points table with 6 wins in 8 matches and 12 points, the team still has a few concerns they could be worried about. The batting department may lack a little spark, especially Manish Pandey.
Most teams in the IPL have now realized that they can’t win without homegrown talent. Indian players are more adept at playing in the subcontinent’s conditions. They are very effective against several bowlers with medium-pace and countless variations. Foreign batsmen often lack this ability to play against striking variations and the ‘slower one’- a ball that has troubled many batsmen this season. Rajasthan Royals are facing the same problem.
With the Hyderabad team, the top order looks good but the middle order is somewhat compromised. They have a good bowling attack too but the lack of depth in batting has often landed them in uncomfortable situations. The team was hunting for Manish Pandey, a robust middle-order batsman, who they got for a whopping 11-crore, making him the third highest grossing player in the auction.
So far, this investment has failed to provide adequate results. He only played one good game against the Kings XI Punjab team, with an unbeaten 57 but the rest was quite a disappointment. Even in this knock, he seemed to struggle on a good batting track. At one time, he had 11 runs off 16 balls. He ducked against the Chennai Super Kings and then had a bad day against the Mumbai Indians as well. In 7 outings, he now has only 158 runs to his credit.
The head coach of the team Tom Moody said that he is not very concerned about Pandey’s form, defending his performance during this season. He said, “Firstly, he has got two half centuries and it is probably a lot more than what other people in the middle-order have got in the tournament. Secondly, we have got to recognize the surfaces that we have been playing on.”
He went on to say that the team has mostly worked in Mumbai, Jaipur and other wickets where the scores have average around 130-150. In such times, if a middle order batsman makes less runs, it isn’t exactly his fault. Wickets like Kolkata and Delhi, in his opinion, are more favorable for batting where ‘sixes could be hit for fun’. The same is not the case with wickets elsewhere in India.
He went on to praise the batsman saying, “We are really pleased with the way Manish is going. He has fitted into the team exceptionally well and we know that he’s a match winner. Not only with the bat, he’s a match winner on the field as well.”
With such good words from Moody and special attention from mentor VVS Laxman, the team expects him to perform well. It is important to note that Pandey is a great fielder too. With some more practice and more time at the pitch, he might prove to be a very valuable asset for his team, especially with batting.