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Kohli and de Villier’s Wicket Was My IPL Highlight: Krunal Pandya

The Quint caught up with Mumbai India’s Krunal Pandya for a chat on his crazy IPL season.

Published
Sports
4 min read
(Photo: IANS)

At first, Krunal Pandya was simply the Hardik Pandya’s elder brother, who came into the limelight when the Mumbai Indians bought him in the IPL9 auction for 2 crores.

After being left out of the first two fiixtures, Pandya got a shot in the third game and grabbed the opportunity with everything he had. The all-rounder scored 237 runs and also picked up six crucial wickets in 12 matches.

In an exclusive chat with The Quint, Krunal Pandya talks about his journey in the IPL, his goals, his brother Hardik Pandya’s form and the most memorable moments of his season.

Talk us through your IPL journey with the Mumbai Indians.

My IPL journey was great actually. I was well prepared for the tournament and I am really happy with my personal performance in this IPL. However, I am disappointed because my team did not qualify for knockouts. But on a personal note, it was a good tournament for me and I would also like to carry this form forward in upcoming domestic tournaments.

Are you satisfied with your performances in IPL-9? What are your goals?

Yeah, I am quite satisfied with my performances in IPL-9. My ultimate goal is to represent India but as of now I would like to take things step by step and perform consistently tournament by tournament, match by match.

Did you gain any confidence after your first IPL season?

Yeah, this IPL season has given me a lot of confidence. I can trust myself and I can say that now I belong here. However, when I got the news that I was playing my first match for Mumbai Indians, I was nervous. At the same time, I was very excited. When I played good cricket at the first chance I received, it gave me the confidence to perform consistently at this level also.

Who was your biggest influence in the Mumbai Indians?

Mumbai Indians has a big support staff and many legends, but I would like to say that Robin Singh has helped me to improve my batting skills and Shane Bond has improved my bowling. Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar also helped me a lot. Jhonty Rhodes has also been instrumental to my performance and growth.

Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya celebrate fall of a wicket during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians  (Photo: IANS)
Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya celebrate fall of a wicket during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians (Photo: IANS)
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Whose idea was it to send you up the order? Were they confident that you would succeed at that position?

While it was the team’s decision to send me up the order, I believe that Ricky Ponting and Rohit Sharma were instrumental in making the decision. If you noticed, I played at different position in all the games– circumstances dictated where I played.

You have taken Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers’ wicket in the same match. Did you make any specific plans for both of them? What was it like, clinching the wickets of two of the world’s best batsmen?

I felt amazing. I did not plan because the format (T20 format) is unpredictable. I was just trying to bowl my best and in the process, I ended up getting two wickets in the same over. I knew that in that particular match I was the least experienced bowler so they would target me. I was just trying to keep things simple and bowl my best.

I knew that after got Virat Kohli out, AB de Villiers would attack me so I bowled an uncharacteristically slow delivery. He bit the bait and tried to get a single. My strategy paid off: I got his wicket. This was the highest point in my IPL performance.

Krunal Pandya of the Mumbai Indians at a practice session. (Photo: IANSPhoto)
Krunal Pandya of the Mumbai Indians at a practice session. (Photo: IANSPhoto)
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As an all-rounder, what is your practice routine?

As an all-rounder, I divide my routine to maintain balance. I give equal time to all departments of the game: batting, bowling or fitness. If you want to succeed at the higher levels then you also need to concentrate on your fitness.

You are a fantastic hitter of the cricket ball. Do you think you can replicate your performances in longer version of the game, too?

I think that the T20 format demands big shots but I think I can replicate my performance in longer versions of the game. Just before the IPL, I played a three-day tournament and scored 336 runs. That was Baroda’s highest score in a club game. So I think it depends on your mindset and which format you are playing.

What are the differences that this season of IPL has brought to Krunal Pandya’s approach as a player?

I learnt from this season of IPL that you should be more confident and clear with your thoughts. You don’t need to think too much, you just need to go out there and express yourself. That’s the best way to play.

Which do you think is your bigger strength - batting or bowling?

It is really difficult to judge because I work equally hard on both my batting and bowling. I’d like to think they’re both my strengths.

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Krunal Pandya  during an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam (Photo: IANSPhoto)
Krunal Pandya during an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam (Photo: IANSPhoto)
It is really difficult to judge because I work equally hard on both my batting and bowling. I’d like to think they’re both my strengths.
What is your most memorable moment in the IPL?

I hit Amit Mishra for a six. After that, I showed my biceps off to Kieron Pollard (who was there at non-striker end). For me, it was the funniest moment for me from my first season of IPL.

Have you thought about whether you deserve to play in the Indian team (in the series against Zimbabwe), following your successful IPL stint?

No, I don’t think about the selection process. I think about things I can control, like practice and performance. My ultimate goal is to play for India and I will play for India for sure.

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