At a time when banks have stopped recruiting cricketers and pros are looking for openings in the corporate world, Manish Pandey should consider himself lucky. The 19-year-old Karnataka batsman has been recruited by BPCL. Life has changed for Pandey, the first Indian to score a century in the IPL.
Money and fame have followed Pandey since that night at Centurion when he blasted 114 for Royal Challengers Bangalore against the Deccan Chargers.
He’s become used to getting mobbed at coffee shops and theatres, his favourite hang-outs.
Besides a Honda Civic and one of the faster Pulsar bikes that adorn his garage, Pandey is also the highest-paid player of his team, Belagavi Panthers, in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) that immediately follows the BCCI Corporate Trophy. He was bought for Rs. 2.55 lakh.
“Life has changed,” Pandey told HT “But not so much. The main difference is that I am more eager for opportunities to play and that more people are recognising me.”
Pandey, who will be 20 on September 10 is aware that early success can affect a cricketer.
“One should know what he is doing. My parents guide me and I learn by observing people around. I ensure that my head is firmly on my shoulders.”
Pandey refuses to fall into the Twenty20 trap. “I’d like to play all forms of the game. The longer format has a firm base and is where the skills are tested. The more you play that, the more you learn.”
Pandey’s immediate focus is the Corporate Trophy. “I am looking forward to keeping expectations of going.”