The young KXIP batsman feels T20 success alone can’t earn Team India call-up
IF IN a line-up boasting of heavyweights, like David Hussey and Adam Gilchrist, one gallops his way to the top of run-charts then it’s natural that the world will pay special attention to him. The same adulation is being showered on Kings XI Punjab’s Mandeep Singh now.
The 21-year-old opener currently is the only one from his team to cross the 200-run mark (219 in eight matches), with the league in half-way stage. However, Mandeep’s tryst with success in IPL is nothing new.
He announced his arrival on the big stage in 2012 when he finished as the top-scorer (436 in 16 games) of the Kings XI and was 10th in the over-all list of highest run scorers.
Although the IPL often has brought the limelight on littleknown domestic stars, some of them have faded away into oblivion. The young Punjab youngster seems to be aware of the cruel reality and has his feet firmly on the ground.
“I know that some players have even got a chance in the national team on the basis of their performance in the IPL, but I am not a day dreamer.
There may not be so much attention and camera in the domestic leagues, but players are made there,” Mandeep told MAIL TODAY . “See (Cheteshwar) Pujara, he did so well against Australia but is nowhere to be seen in the IPL. So does that mean he is not good? So I believe, performance in this T20 league is not the only way to get a national call-up.” The youngster also featured in India A’s tour of New Zealand last year and was the topscorer in the two unofficial Test matches with 263 runs. “Just because I did well in the Tests while in the ODIs I didn’t do well (56 in three games) does not mean I prefer the longer format more. There is no dearth of talent in India so if I am not suited for all the formats then I may never get a chance at the international level,” he said.
So does the tag of being the top-scorer add more pressure on Mandeep? “ I never think about these things. I am a middle order batsman, but in the IPL I have been asked to open the innings because the team needs me at that position.
“So, my only focus during a match is to play well and play long and give the team a good start,” he says.
Mandeep clarifies that giving a good start does not necessarily mean going for the big shots in the first six over when the Powerplay is on.
“Generally in the Powerplay overs, teams tend to bring in their best bowlers due to field restrictions to put in more pressure on the batsmen.
“So if the strategy of the team is to check certain bowlers and not loose wicket, then there is no question of attacking,” he said.
Going by the points table, Mandeep’s team looks to be in an uncomfortable position after four losses in eight matches, but Mandeep says it’s a long way to go in the season.
“We have good chance of making it to the play- offs. One big reason for that is because the local lads like me, Gurkeerat (Singh), Manan (Vohra), (Manpreet) Gony are in good form.
“We play for the same state team – Punjab – and know each other’s game well, so it helps us to complement each other,” he said.
“In the foreign department as well, we have the likes of (Adam) Gilchrist, David Hussey, Azhar (Mahmood) bhai who are greats in their own rights. They also help us whenever we ask for it, be it playing techniques or handling the pressure.”