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Manish Pandey makes most of opportunity

May 22, 2009 20:00 IST

Manish Pandey makes most of opportunity

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One moment of brilliance can change one's life. This could well hold true for Manish Pandey.

At the start of the Indian Premier League, many would have laughed had you told them that Pandey, a 19-year-old from Bangalore, would be the first Indian to hit a century in the Twenty20 tournament.

Seven batsmen had crossed the magical landmark before him, but none of them was an Indian.

All that changed on Thursday, when an unknown youngster, playing only his third IPL match set the Centurion alight with a masterclass unbeaten 114.


Image: Manish Pandey
Photographs: Reuters
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'Coach told me to have fun in the centre'

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Assigned to open the innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Pandey grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

And he credits captain Anil Kumble and coach Ray Jennings' for reposing faith in him.

"In the team meeting he [Kumble] told me that I would open the innings today. He said he has faith in me and told me to back my abilities. He said the track looked good and no matter how badly I played I would still score good runs.

"Jennings told me to play my natural game. He told me not to fear failure and to have fun in the centre," he said.


Image: Manish Pandey

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And, in Paney's own words, maybe, this could be the innings that shapes his destiny as a cricketer. Which also means he does not have to consider joining the Army, like his father GS Pandey.

"I think the plan has changed now. I just had an option that if cricket would not work for me then I would join the Army," he said.

Mumbai Indians could well be ruing their decision to let Pandey go in the off-season.


Image: Manish Pandey

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First Indian to hit a ton in T20

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The youngster, who originally hails from Nainital, Uttarakhand, has made Bangalore his home to further his cricketing career and is based there since his school days.

Pandey was a member of the Indian squad that won the under-19 World Cup. That helped him get a berth in Karnataka's squad but the results were not that flattering, just two half-centuries in the debut season.

But against the Deccan Chargers, he made sure that once he got his eye in he did not let go of the opportunity.

For the record, it was the first century by an Indian in the IPL, an unlikely one, but coming from someone who made the most of the opportunity given to him.

Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Brendon McCullum, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey and Shaun Marsh, had recorded centuries in the first edition while Abraham de Villiers and Manish Pandey have scored in IPL 2009.


Image: Manish Pandey is congratulated by team-mate Virat Kohli

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