Pandey was left out of the playing XI alongside veteran Yusuf Pathan in order to give a fresh-look to the middle order © BCCI
Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody has backed Indian batsman Manish Pandey to turn his fortunes around after making a disappointing start to this year’s campaign. Since being bought for a whooping price in 2018, Pandey has struggled to get going averaging only 22.53 at a strike-rate of 111.18. With Sunrisers also making an indifferent start this season, he was left out of the playing XI alongside veteran Yusuf Pathan in order to give a fresh-look to the middle order. Eventually, the move backfired as both Ricky Bhui and Abhishek Sharma failed to deliver against Delhi Capitals.
But with an experienced lineup like Chennai Super Kings in their path next up on Wednesday (April 17), there could be a case to hand a recall to both Pandey and Yusuf Pathan or at least one of the two batsmen. “I think it’s more about selecting the right players for the opponent we come across,” Tom Moody said ahead of the game. “Obviously, Chennai are a very experienced side, so we will look at the balance of our side. I think the balance of our side will be slightly different than the last game so that automatically is going to create changes within the playing XI.”
Speaking on Pandey, Moody said the 29-year-old still has time to recover from the slump and start delivering. “No one is more disappointed than Manish himself,” Moody noted. “He is player who has got a lot of pride in his game. He’s been a good performer. He came into this tournament in some good form as well, scored runs in the domestic competition and captained his side to victory. It hasn’t quite worked out for him to this point but it’s really down to him turning things around and that’s what is the exciting thing for him and for us is that he will still have an opportunity to turn things around and have an impact this season.”
When asked if the constant change in leadership has had an effect in the team’s fortunes this season with both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kane Williamson captaining the side at different junctures, Moody brushed such suggestions aside and called on his players to finish games and not just dominate most parts of it. “I don’t think it’s a leadership thing at all,” he pointed out. “If you look at our games today in detail, there has been aspects of our game that we haven’t got quite right. I think we won more overs than lost more overs. If you look at KKR, very first game, we won 90% of the game but we lost it. There are many examples like that.
“Mumbai Indians here we played exceptionally well and then we found ourselves in no man’s land. The last game here we dominated the first half of that game. We got off to a steady start, we didn’t quite capitalise in the first ten overs like we should’ve done having not lost wickets. We then found ourselves going backwards. So winning the majority of a lot of contests but we are not finishing the job and it’s simply down to individuals. No one in particular but the individuals need to recognise those moments in games whether it’s with the bat or ball or the field, and make sure we don’t make those mistakes, dominate the large percentage of the games and finish the job.”
Not many teams can bounce back straightaway from a demoralising loss such as the one Sunrisers suffered against Capitals losing eight wickets for just 15 runs, but Moody has challenged his side to take inspiration from Capitals themselves to turn things around. Despite suffering a similar collapse against Kings XI Punjab earlier in the tournament, Capitals recovered in commendable fashion to win three out of their next four games to sit second on the points table. “The most important thing when you have a disappointing loss is you do reflect, you review it and move on,” he said. “You don’t ignore it, it’s important you do reflect and have a good look at it and you move on as quick as possible as a group and we’ve done that.
“We still know that this tournament is still wide open. If we manage to get our game together throughout all facets of the game, we will find ourselves playing at the end of the season.”