Started last week, Asia Cup 2018 has been a great tournament so far. Actually, we had seen some shocking outcomes from Asia Cup in the first week. The five-time winners at Asia Cup, Sri Lanka were eliminated in first round for losing both matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Hong Kong also had nail-biting match and shocked defending champions India. On the next day, India also came up with blasting performance over Pakistan and crushed their arch-rivals by 8 wickets. Last night, India had a great match and won by 7 wickets against Bangladesh.
India seemed to be competent so far and they always have a great chance to defend trophy successfully. The batting line up of India has been great without Virat Kohli but its middle order is still unstable. The openers scored a lot of runs but middle-order has not been tested yet completely. When playing against Hong Kong, Rayudu was excellent by scoring half-century. By playing against Pakistan, he was not out. But he failed when playing versus Bangladesh. In addition, his strike rate in Asia Cup has been substandard.
Dinesh Karthik remained not-out against Pakistan and scored 33 against Hong Kong. MS Dhoni scored handy knock against Bangladesh as he came at No. 4 to bat. He is the most experienced batsman and he might help middle-order of India to the rest of Asia Cup matches. On the other side, Manish Pandey is a great middle-order batsman. But he has not played in Asia Cup yet. Here are some of the reasons why India should try him in starting XI –
Current form of batting
Manish Pandey has been picked by Indian selectors in Asia Cup for his recent form of batting. He has played 22 matches for the country in ODIs. But he couldn’t cement his position yet. Last month, he led India to Quadrangular series and played some great knocks in tournament.
In four games of this series, he scored 306 runs and he was not-out in all of those matches. In fact, he even scored 2 half-centuries and a century in Quadrangular series. He surely deserves a position in Starting XI by considering his recent form of batting.
He is best to play big knocks and his batting technique is truly remarkable. Manish Pandey could score runs faster and his ODI strike rate is 93.
A Great Fielder
Fielding is an important quality of a leading team and fielding of India has been improving over the past few years. To pass through the selection process, India has the criteria and fitness is the main reason in yo-yo test. Fitness should be high for a good fielding side. Manish Pandey is a great fielder and he can save a lot of runs on field. The inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja has improved fielding of team and Manish Pandey can improve the fielding performance of India in Asia Cup marginally.
Ambati Rayudu couldn’t pass yo-yo test few months ago and didn’t get entry to England series. But Manish has shown his fielding power too in Asia Cup. He came as an alternative to injured Hardik Pandya and took great catch of Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed against Pakistan.