Manish Pandey eyes Ranji Trophy win for Karnataka

Indian batter Manish Pandey has expressed his thoughts on the upcoming Ranji Trophy quarter-final round. He is captaining the Karnataka side which will be playing Uttar Pradesh this week. Pandey said that playing Ranji Trophy for Karnataka is where he feels the best and he enjoys taking the extra responsibility as a captain.

The 32-year-old boasts of an impressive average of 52.9 in first-class cricket. He made his debut for Karnataka back in 2008 and has won this famous trophy on two occasions. Karnataka is among the favorites to win this season but faces strong competition from giants Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh.

Pandey is enjoying a great domestic season in a red-ball format so far with 352 runs from six innings at an impressive average of 117.33. He has scored two centuries, including a 156-run knock against Railways, and remained not out on three occasions as well.

‘I feel I’m at my best here’ – Manish Pandey on playing with Karnataka

Pandey talked about guiding his team to the final or triumph this season with the hard work of his teammates and himself. He said he has done fairly well to be on this team and will play his 95th match with the same intensity as his first.

“One thing is clear to all, no one is indispensable. This cap never came free to anyone. We have all worked hard for it. That hard work and [hunger] keep me going even today. I will play my 95th game with the same intensity as my first,” Pandey told ESPNcricinfo.

He struggled to score big with LSG in the recently-concluded IPL 2022 as he could score only 88 runs from six matches at an average of 14.66 and a strike rate of 110.00. Pandey also highlighted how he is shifting focus from the t20 format to red-ball cricket after a hectic season.

“Whenever I come back from the IPL or a long tour, this is where I look forward to coming back the most. I feel I’m at my best here [Karnataka set-up] with the coaching staff and players we’ve got. Also, the added responsibility as captain means you have to be in the driving seat and steer the team. I like the extra responsibility; it helps me and helps ensure the XI guys we’ve got always give 100% to make Karnataka a better team,” he said.