Manish Pandey © Getty Images
Manish Pandey © Getty Images

Indian batsman Manish Pandey has revealed that he considered Australia as one of his opponents in state cricket, in order to keep things simple during his match-winning century in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI), at Sydney last month. Pandey slammed his maiden century in a thrilling run-chase — first in excess of 300 against Australia in Australia — as India broke their poor streak in Australia. The win ignited spark in the Indian cricket team as they ended the tour with four consecutive wins — in fifth ODI and then in three Twenty20 Internationals. Pandey is now looking forward to carry on the momentum in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 5th ODI at Sydney

Pandey told the Indian Express, “I was just thinking of all the good innings I have played till date. I was visualising all the hundreds I have scored, from junior to senior cricket and IPL to Ranji games. I was just remembering those innings even when I get out from the team bus. I just wanted to get a good feeling before I go out to bat. I knew that I will be batting at No. 4 as Ajinkya [Rahane] was injured. I have been playing at No. 4 for a long time for Karnataka. So I knew how to pace and build my innings. The way I saw the first few balls of which I was getting ones and twos, I realised that the ground is mine now.” ALSO READ: Manish Pandey says century against Australia ranks among top 3 moments of my career

He said the pressure that is there in domestic cricket matches helped him get over the line in the match against Australia, “Probably, domestic cricket experience played a huge role in it. I didn’t want to do something different. Before my turn, Ravi bhai (Ravi Shastri) told me, ‘don’t do anything different here. Keep batting as you have been doing over the years.’ I told myself ke bus yeh tere state team jaise hai, bat as you bat for Karnataka. I just want it to look nice and easy.”

Pandey revealed that MS Dhoni kept giving him valuable advice and even though the pressure was increasing on them, he kept his cool. Dhoni struggled for timing generally but did well to hang around with Pandey, who was doing the bulk of scoring.

Pandey said, “Mahi bhai may have been struggling a bit initially but even though the run-rate was increasing he kept telling me not to worry, and said, ‘hum log rehenge tab ho jayega’. Between overs we kept talking the same thing that we have to push it till late. Mahi bhai has been in such situations before, so he knows how to take the game till the end and then take it in India’s favour. One has to go with that mindset of hanging around and once you get those 40-50’s, I always ensure that I play a big innings.