Krunal Pandya, who hit the fastest ODI half-century on debut, has dedicated the knock to his father and was visibly emotional throughout the game. In a conversation with Hardik Pandya, he revealed that he brought his father's clothes with him to Pune to draw energy out of his memories.
Krunal and Hardik Pandya lost their father on January 16 when the former was playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy just after he was embroiled in a controversy with Deepak Hooda. Krunal, who had already played 18 T20Is for India since making his debut back in 2018, made his ODI debut in Pune on Tuesday, was visibly emotional. Keeping everything aside, he struck a nonchalant fifty and helped India to a par score as the side took the 1-0 lead afterward.
Speaking to the broadcasters, he broke down and later hugged his brother Hardik Pandya, who presented him with his ODI cap, before the duo indulged in a candid conversation.
"This is all dedicated to the old man, his blessings are there with us, and obviously it was very emotional - for you and me, both of us - and again, getting the cap from you, and I guess somewhere down the line, up there, he must be having a good night today and enjoying the way I batted. So yeah, this is for him," Krunal said in a conversation with Hardik for bcci.tv.
"I was playing Syed Mushtaq Ali on that day, 16th morning. He had a habit of keeping his clothes ready and select everything, his shoes, his pant, his shirts, hat as well… So what I did was just before the game, I got his bag from Baroda here…," Krunal said, adding that it was his way to make sure he had his father with him for the big day.
The all-rounder could just play three games in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament due to the death of his father, he made that up with a stunning Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign 388 runs in five innings at an average of 129.33 and strike rate of 117.93. Krunal stated that he worked so hard to be where he is now and revealed that he always wants to be the best version of himself.
"Dream come true, obviously. I have worked so hard to be here. Especially the last one-and-a-half months I have been putting in those hard yards not just in terms of cricket but in terms of everything: from taking care of my diet to fitness to everything," Krunal told Hardik.
"I have not been working now (with a) result-oriented mind, my focus has always been lately about how I can be the best version of myself, how I can improve not just as a cricketer but how I can improve as a human being as well.
"So that focus has always been on the process rather than the result, whether that's good or bad is secondary for me, neither am I thinking about it. The only constant focus is how I can give the best opportunity to myself before every game."