Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey on Tuesday said he was too eager to play for India and felt disappointed when he couldn't make it to the team after bursting onto the scene with a whirlwind century in the second edition of IPL in 2009.
Pandey had hogged the limelight during the second IPL season when he became the first Indian to score a century in IPL but it was only after six years that he could make his T20I debut for India in 2015 at Zimbabwe.
"That was a good start to get a first century back in 2009. I only remember all the good innings I have had after 2014 where I did well again in the domestic circuit. I came back, made by debut for the Indian side in 2015 in Zimbabwe. There was a little bit of a gap in the middle," he said.
"Gap was because I was thinking, after 2009-2010, I would play for India. I had a good first class season also after the IPL. I was too eager to play for India. When that does not happen, sometimes you get disappointed. But, I think I have learnt that this is a part of it, he said.
Pandey said there is a lot of competition in Indian cricket and only a consistent effort to improve his game has helped him become a better cricketer and contribute to the team.
"It's a lot of competition. Everyone is looking to break in somehow. For me to realize that, putting that continuous hard work on whatever I do, whatever little things which will help me become a better cricketer, I started doing that and eventually I thought I was in good space. When I started playing for India, everything came through well, said Pandey, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"I think it's always nice to come back on track and put that hard work knowing that you have to put the hard work to reach certain level, the dream what you always had to play for India."
"That's what I did after that. It's been a consistent effort from my side to keep improving my game, my batting, fielding and my fitness, which I have done in all these years which is helping me in some sorts, he added.
Pandey said Sunrisers Hyderabad boasts of a good middle-order and it would help them in their campaign this season.
This team already has whatever is needed to win the championship," he said.
Middle order in every team is a go-to option when the top order fails. I think, with me, Yusuf bhai (Yusuf Pathan) and (Deepak) Hooda coming in, we have one of the better middle orders in this tournament.
I think it is as important as any of the roles given to all the 11 guys to perform. I am pretty happy and pretty safe at the place where I am in right now. Having a good middle order definitely helps the team and I am happy with what we have right now, the 28-year-old added.
(With PTI Inputs)