Virender Sehwag has termed India's middle-order batsman Manish Pandey as the most disappointing batsman in the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, while he wasn't impressed with Hardik Pandya's displays too. He also defended Prithvi Shaw's aggressive approach in the series.
Manish Pandey made a name for himself in 2008 when he turned into the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. But years down the line, he has only played 24 innings in ODI cricket - at times due to the lack of trust shown in him by the team management while at other times, owing to his middling returns. However, the 31-year-old got full backing in the three-game ODI series against Sri Lanka and he even batted at 4 ahead of an in-form Suryakumar Yadav. But it didn't pan out well as he ended up with scores of 26, 37 and 11.
Two things that stood out were his inability to play the anchor role well and the gulf between his approach and the other batters in the team. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag stated that Pandey was the most disappointing in the series and may no longer feature for India in ODIs again.
"So, I believe Pandey has disappointed me the most. Perhaps he may no longer get a chance in ODIs for India, and even if he does, it is going to be a long time. Since he lost the opportunity to score in these three matches, he's fallen behind in the pecking order. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have scored runs so these two will be considered ahead of him in the middle order," Sehwag said on Cricbuzz, reported HT.
Not only Pandey, but the third-most senior batsman in the side, Hardik Pandya was also poor and returned scores of 0 and 19, failing to get runs under his belt. The Indian all-rounder had failed to perform in this year's IPL as well. Sehwag added that both Pandey and Hardik were unimpressive.
"Here was an opportunity for Manish Pandey and even Hardik Pandya for that matter. Both had scored some 15-20 runs so they disappointed me more. In this three-match series, if anyone got the most benefit, it was Pandey. He played all three matches, and got the chance to bat, and on all the three occasions, the situation wasn't challenging either that he had to accelerate."
Prithvi Shaw, who was making a return to the side after smashing runs in domestic cricket and the IPL, was decent and averaged 35 with a strike rate of 125. He was very good in the first and third ODI, though there has been criticism around his lack of conversion. But Sehwag, who was an aggressive opener himself in his heydays, defended Shaw and said that sometimes players fail to read situations well but that's part of the game.
"I understand that when a player is in touch, he would want to score more but it sometimes happens that you cannot read the game properly, like it happened with Shaw. He probably did not expect the ball to come to him so quickly and rap him on the pads," he added.