For any batter, his or her piece of willow holds a special place in their life. And why not? It is one of the tools of their trade.
There are cricketers like Steve Smith, Sachin Tendulkar and many others who are pretty meticulous about the dimensions and weight of their willow.
But Indian international, Manish Pandey, has taken his love for his bats to another level, by tagging them as his ‘girlfriends’.
“In many ways, my bat is like a girlfriend, especially when I’m playing my matches and my actual girlfriend [now wife] isn’t around,” Manish said during the latest episode of Spicy Pitch.
“I even end up having ‘fights’ with my bat. I tell my bat that it has changed when I start to edge balls and it replies right back, ‘I think it’s you who’s changed!’,” Pandey suggested in a jovial manner.
Pandey belonged to the same U19 class of 2008 which won the World Cup as Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja.
The trio also went on to have successful international careers donning the Indian colours. As a matter of fact, Pandey was the first Indian to score an IPL ton, which came in Centurion back in 2009.
“I have 5 girlfriends in my bag — each of them is special for different occasions. For example, the bat with which I scored my IPL century is what I call my ‘shadow’ bat. I use it whenever I need a confidence booster or to prep for a big moment,” added the Karnataka stalwart.
Cricketers are often known to have their own set of superstitions, like putting their left pad first, or carrying a red handkerchief, and so on.
Even Manish opened up on his superstition, saying, “I don’t know of any cricketer who doesn’t have superstitions. For me, if I play an exceptional inning with one bat, I tend to keep using it. It almost becomes like a good luck charm.”
“For me, a bat getting destroyed in a game hurts just as bad as losing my wicket. When the bat gets chipped or cracked, I feel like I’ve injured myself,” concluded Manish.
Manish Pandey got married to actress Ashrita Shetty in Mumbai on December 2 last year – just a day after he led Karnataka to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title.