Indian Premier League's new star Manish Pandey said his role model Sachin Tendulkar's knock in the first match against Delhi Daredevils gave him the confidence to make the most of the opportunity to open the innings against Deccan Chargers.
Pandey scored 114 against Deccan Chargers to propel Royal Challengers to a 12-run victory on Thursday that helped them finish third in the IPL standings. It was also first century by any Indian player in IPL.
Pandey said he drew inspiration from Tendulkar's 46 against Daredevils.
"When I saw Tendulkar batting I somehow felt that I can also do it on this track. I' am a great admirer of Tendulkar," he said.
Pandey also said it was the backing of the captain Anil Kumble and coach Ray Jennings that gave him the confidence to open the innings.
"In the team meeting he (Kumble) told me that I would open the innings. He said he has faith in me and told me to back my abilities. He said the track looked good and no matter how badly I played I would still score good runs," Pandey was quoted as saying in the IPL website.
"He (Ray Jennings) is a fantastic coach. He told me to play my natural game. He told me not to fear failure and to have fun in the centre."
Before his rise to IPL stardom, Pandey played three matches for the Mumbai Indians in the inaugural IPL. He batted twice, and scored just three of his runs in one of those innings. This year, he added two runs to that tally in the couple of games he played.
"It is amazing. I just thought I would back myself and it worked. I realised only when I reached 87 that I could make a century here. I wanted to grab the opportunity with both the hands. I am happy to match AB de Villiers' feat of scoring a century in the IPL in South Africa."
"I told myself that I would play a ball on merit. Once I got my timing and swing of the bat right, I knew I could bat through the innings."
Pandey, who represented India in the U-19 World Cup in 2008, wanted to join the Army but now he wants to continue playing cricket.
"I think the plan has changed now. I just had an option that if cricket would not work for me then I would join the Army."
Asked whether he got frustrated while warming the benches, Pandey said: "It is part of the game. Sometime you get a chance and sometimes you don't. I got my chance and I did well."