It is never easy when you are the elder brother of a Team India cricketer. Krunal Pandya, 25, the elder brother of Team India fast bowler Hardik stole the limelight with a whirlwind knock of 86 against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday. What’s more important is that Krunal bats and bowls left handed as against Hardik who is a right hander. He also impressed with his orthodox spin claiming two Daredevil wickets.
When asked whether there was a rivalry between the two brothers, Krunal denied it. “Never, we both learnt the basics of the game from the same coach (Kiran More, who was the wicket-keeper for Team India) and pretty much played and concentrated on bringing out the best in each other,” said Krunal.
Krunal also had words of praise for his younger brother. “I think Hardik has done really well for himself. He is very hardworking and focused. Also I think that he has improved a lot in terms of his bowling in the last couple of years. I wish him all the best for the future,” Krunal added.
Interestingly, Krunal has been in great form for Mumbai Indians and his performances have been better than his more famous brother Hardik. In fact, Hardik has not been in good form off late and has been rested for many of Mumbai’s matches.
Krunal, who was bought by Mumbai Indians, has been a great fan of Yuvraj Singh. He has watched and admired the dashing Indian all-rounder ever since he was a youngster. Ever since my childhood, I have been watching Yuvi. I am a great fan of him and also would like to bat like him. The talent he has shown is something truly remarkable,” said Krunal.
When queried on Mumbai Indian’s chances in the current IPL, Krunal said, “We have one thing on mind, about winning the next game, we are not thinking about the result, we are focusing on the process, we will go there (to Kanpur), practice well two days, we will execute the skills, then the result will be in our favour."
On his sterling show with the bat he said, "I am happy for my performance for the Mumbai Indians, batting, bowling wherever I have got opportunity, I have done well, I will like to continue with the same, we (the team) have one match remaining and will try to win and qualify for the play-offs," Krunal added.
Krunal also had words of praise for Mumbai team's think-tank for their support and valuable advice.
"I think the biggest gain for me in Mumbai Indians is that I get to interact with legends like Ricky Ponting (head coach), Sachin sir (Sachin Tendulkar), Jonty Sir (Jhonty Rhodes), I have learned about batting from Robin Singh; he guides me about batting. It has been a great experience," he added.
On being asked how the presence of Sachin and Ponting helped him, Krunal said their mere presence was like a tonic effect. "I can tell you a mere small piece of advice from either Ponting sir or Sachin sir can be of great help. After all they have played the game at the highest level and have always performed under intense pressure,” he said.
A former National selector feels that Krunal’s good showing in the IPL could earn him a place in the Zimbabwe series. “I am pretty confident that with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan likely to be rested, it increases the chance of Krunal getting the nod. After all Dhoni has always felt the need for all-rounders and I think it is here that he (Kurnal) could make is debut for Team India in the three ODI’s and couple of T20 matches that will be played there,” said the selector.