After what has been a memorable IPL season that held contrasting fortunes for the two brothers, Krunal Pandya backed his brother to bounce back stronger. Krunal also recounted his journey through the season saying that he was not bogged down by his 2 crore price tag.
Hardik had been the toast of the nation after clinching victory for India in the last over of the match against Bangladesh in the World Cup T20. However, his fortunes dipped dramatically during this IPL where he played for the Mumbai Indians as he was dropped midway through the season. Speaking about it in an exclusive to Firstpost, Krunal said, "These things happen. This is cricket and every cricketer goes through tough phases. [Hardik] will come back stronger, I have full faith in him”.
Adding on about it, Krunal said, "Talented to bannev aj che, jovo have ek varas next IPL nu jaye to tame decide kari le so ke bannev talented che.” (We both are talented, let this next IPL finish; you will yourself decide that indeed both are talented).
Krunal also talked about his journey from the doctor's table to the spotlight in a matter of a year. After having injured his shoulder in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy in 2015, Krunal was sideline for almost a year, but went for a whopping 2 crores when Mumbai Indians picked him. Although it did raise quite a few eyebrows, Krunal has more than proved the price tag on him with his exploits.
Asked if the price tag added to the pressure on him to perform, he said, "No, it depends on the individual," Krunal told Firstpost. “I took it positively and prepared well. I didn't have the pressure that I have been bought for two crore so I have to perform. But since the last few months I prepared well for IPL only," Krunal added.
Speaking about the recovery phase leading to the event, Krunal said, "It was quite difficult. One year is a big gap and suddenly to play a tournament (IPL), which I haven't played before, was all new for me. But that's what it is, if you are mentally tough and ready for the challenge and if you prepare well, you will get the result. I managed to do really well”.
Krunal also relived that match where he put in an all-round display to take Mumbai Indians through. Krunal blasted a career-high score of 86 off just 37 balls to take Mumbai to a commanding total of 206, before returning to take the crucial wicket of Quinton de Kock, who was threatening to take the match away.
“Before the game I told Hardik that I will score a lot of runs in this game, he said, ‘Yes bro, you will do it.’ And after I scored the fifty I just gestured towards him telling him I did it,” said Krunal, reported Firstpost.
"I had never batted at No.3. But that's the way it goes, as a cricketer you will get new challenges every game and you should know how to deal with it and how to cope up with it.
"I played at all the positions - 4,5,3,6,7. But that was my job in the team. I had to go and carry the momentum which the previous batsman had set and play my shots. For me it was not that difficult," he added Krunal.