India middle-order batsman Manish Pandey said that he has the ability to cement his place in the Indian line-up after he blasted a brilliant unbeaten 79 off 48 balls in the second T20I match against South Africa.
Pandey has been in and out of the Indian team and despite good performances, the Karnataka batsman has failed to become a regular in the Indian ODI side.
"Honestly, it's a little tough [waiting for chances] and it works on your mind a lot. Especially on this tour, I have felt it a lot actually but that is what cricket is all about. You have to wait for your chances to play for a team like India where you have so many stars and legend after legend [in the team]. So I am trying my bit there," Pandey said.
"I have got a few chances at number four and I have delivered. So the batting combination sometimes pushed me down to number five. I have tried my bit [at number five], but I also feel that I could probably do a little bit more with myself. India has a really good top-order line-up and they bat out nearly 30-35 overs in ODIs with guys like Virat [Kohli] and then MS Dhoni comes ahead of me [at times]. So yeah, with some more chances, I feel I can deliver a lot more than what I am doing right now," he added.
Pandey was left out of the playing eleven during the ODIs as the team management went with Shreyas Iyer.
Pandey, who was the first Indian batsman to score an IPL century further said that it is tough to match the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh who have batted before at number five for India.
"I was waiting to play here. Even in the ODIs, I was trying to squeeze my chances in but that didn’t happen. But in the T20s, it has been good and Centurion has always been good to me. I still remember the hundred I got here about 9-10 years ago, so it is good to always bat here," he said.
"As I said, it is tough playing for India at number five. The people who have batted at this spot before me, like Raina and Yuvi, well, it is also tough to fill in their shoes. Over the last couple of years, Indian batting has also been doing very well. So you have to be very patient for your chances," he added.
Speaking on his batting, the middle-order batsman said that it is necessary to be on the attack right from the start and that he got used to the conditions only in the second T20I.
"From ball one, you have to go for it. That’s what I tried to do in the first game but I played a little slow. It happens coming back after a long time and staying here. It was in my mind a little bit but today was a good day for me.
"I want to continue playing the way I have always played. That's how I have to keep squeezing my chances in there," he said.
India scored 62 runs off the last five over to end the innings at 188 and Pandey credited Dhoni for the fireworks.
"Mahi just woke up," he added, with a laugh.
"That was his chance. He is the best when he bats lower down the order. He takes a couple of overs, looks to dominate and that’s what happened," he signed off.