For KKR, floater Manish Pandey’s favoured slot is No. 3

IPL 2017

For KKR, floater Manish Pandey’s favoured slot is No. 3

• Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 07:14 AM Bagawati Prasad in Chennai

Pandey feels that his “strength” is to bat at No. 3 and will stick to his much preferred spot in IPL 2017. © BCCI

In his 12-match ODI career thus far, Manish Pandey has floated up and down the order according to the team’s needs. However, in the IPL he has been a force to reckon with at No. 3 for the Kolkata Knight Riders over the past three seasons.It was his blazing 94, at No 3, that helped KKR clinch the title against Kings XI Punjab in the final of the 2014 IPL. Even though Pandey believes he “will adjust” to the role of a finisher in ODIs, the 27-year-old clearly stated that his “strength” is to bat at No. 3 and will stick to his much preferred spot in the T20 extravaganza.

“I started as an opener there (KKR). But batting at No. 3 is my strength. I would love to open or bat at No. 3 which will give me enough time to play my strokes and be at the wicket for a while,” Pandey told TOI on Thursday (March 30). “We have enough finishers in our team such as Yusuf Pathan and a few others. They are specialists in finishing. I think I would to bat at No. 3.”

But when it comes to the Indian limited-overs team he is willing to adapt to the task that he has been entrusted with. “I would love to bat at No. 4 as I normally bat at that slot. Batting at No. 5 and 6 is not what I have done. But now I feel batting in those positions are slightly tougher because you don’t have enough time, you have to quickly judge the pace of the game and bat with someone like MS Dhoni to put some runs on the board. This is something new, it will take time, but I will adjust to the role of a finisher,” he added.

Pandey has come a long way since he joined the Gautam Gambhir-led side in 2014. He said former KKR player and now coach Jacques Kallis has had a “good influence” on his career. “Kallis is someone who doesn’t talk a lot. It’s important for a player like to me to go to him. He has always been a good influence on my game. He told me that I have many strokes and that it was important for me to stay at the wicket, take some time initially and then play my shots and that’s where my strength comes,” he added.

The right-hander, who shot to limelight scoring a hundred in the 2009 edition of the IPL, feels KKR has had a good role in his rise. “There were quite a few funny characters (Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Kuldeep Yadav) in the side and I really love to spend time with these guys. They are among the best bowlers in their respective countries. You get to play good bowlers, their variations and it does help you develop as a cricketer,” said Pandey.