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“I got to know in the 46th over, when coach told me, ‘You will be going next, go pad up.’ Obviously, I padded up quickly and once I got my gloves, I went out straightaway because Yuvi paa got out,” Pandey told ICC in an interview.
Pandya was selected to go in at number five, before former captain MS Dhoni and ODI expert Kedar Jadhav. Not out at 20, Pandya attributed self-belief behind his rise and ability. “When I saw the left-arm spinner, I knew that I could go for it,” he revealed. “It’s all about backing yourself. I always feel that in cricket, you need to back yourself and be confident. Once you are confident, you take the right decision and eventually that pays off.”
He admitted that the pressure of a clash against arch rivals Pakistan was there but he thought of it as a normal game. “Honestly I won’t lie, pressure was there. But still at the back of my mind, I was thinking of it as a normal game because I didn’t want to take unnecessary pressure. In any game, I wouldn’t want to take unnecessary pressure on myself because that makes you do something that you are not supposed to do.”
“Even this game, I was keeping pretty normal. I was pretty calm, composed. I tried not to think of it as a big match as well, just take it as a normal game, an important game for India like any match we play. And eventually we did pretty well and won it.”
Pandya said that he was not playing in place of anyone and playing at number five was because of team requirements. “Honestly, I don’t think I have any pressure because I have been playing regularly. I am not playing in place of anyone, it’s just the requirement of the team based on the conditions on offer. Since I made my international debut, I have played all the games that I was part of the squad for, except for one which I sat out in Visakhapatnam.”