Mandeep Singh’s confidence is on a high after an enlightening A tour to Australia where he spoke at length on his batting with the legendary Rahul Dravid.
“It was amazing that a technically solid player like him (Dravid) never told me to worry about my technique. For four to five days he was by my side in the nets. If a player like him tells me that your technique is good and you just have to go about your training as usual, it works wonders for your confidence. That is what happened with me,” Mandeep told PTI during an interaction.
Mandeep was left frustrated in the recent ODIs against New Zealand as he could not get a game in the five-match series that India won 3-2.
“It was a bit frustrating that I did not get the chance to play. I think if we would have won the series 3-0 and not 3-2, I would have got to play. They selected me as the third opener and now with Rohit injured, hopefully I will get a chance,” said Mandeep, who is a brand ambassador of sports goods giants Puma.
Mandeep, on his part, is open to playing as per the team’s needs having batted in different positions in domestic cricket and IPL. He, however, made his international debut as an opener when a second string India toured Zimbabwe in June.
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In between Zimbabwe and New Zealand series, Mandeep played for India A in Australia and it turned out to be a memorable experience for the 24-year-old. After four failures in a row, he bounced back to help his team win the Quadrangular series including Australia and South Africa.
“It was a very different experience for me. First of all the grounds were very different, much bigger. You had to run for every run as boundaries were hard to come by. I have worked a lot on my fitness in the last two three years and there I felt that it was paying dividends,” he recalled.
His morale was down after a string of failures but he overcame the self doubts with help from coach Rahul Dravid. The result was a 56 and match-winning 95 in the final against the home team.
“Rahul sir said told me that me that footwork in Australia is very important because the ball swings and the bounce is on the higher side. He said you would get out if you are not sure about playing back or forward.
He also attributes his improvement as a cricketer to improved fitness, which has become an important aspect of one’s all round game than ever before.
“Fitness and fielding has become really important if you have to make the national team. That is what I have realised during my limited time in the Indian dressing. Hopefully it would work in my favour going ahead,” he added.
If not at his preferred opening slot, Mandeep could well find himself in the middle order against the Englishmen.
It could be a three-way toss up between Mandeep, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane as KL Rahul’s partner. Rahul is also back in thick of things having recovered from a hamstring injury and is a certainty at the top of the order.