Baroda all-rounder Krunal Pandya often has to share the limelight with his younger brother Hardik but is no less accomplished when it comes to the sport they both love.
Krunal, who found his bearings after joining Mumbai Indians in 2016, has managed to impress the national selectors enough to earn a berth into the Indian side for three-match T20 series against West Indies next month.
“Biggest turning point for me was representing Mumbai Indians,” Krunal told BCCI.tv in an interview.
“From there I have been able to showcase my ability,” he added.
His consistent performances have earned him a berth in the India ‘A’ side that is currently touring the West Indies. The 28-year-old featured in three of the unofficial one-dayers and managed to pick up seven wickets at an average of just 12.85 including 5/25 in the third one-dayer.
“India A tours are very helpful. In last 2-3 years, I have managed to tour South Africa, New Zealand and England. It’s an advantage because when you tour with the senior team, it’s not alien conditions to you,” the Baroda tweaker said.
“I am obviously looking forward to the West Indies tour. There is a lot of cricket for the rest of the year. Obviously, I want that when I go there, I want to perform consistently with both bat and ball,” he had said before the current ‘A’ tour.
Krunal has featured in 11 T20s for India so far and wants to learn from skipper Virat Kohli as well as from former captain and wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni.
“From Virat, I want to find out how he stays so hungry to perform. I want to try to imbibe his consistency, scoring runs in all formats of the game,” he said.
He praised Dhoni and called him the ‘biggest finisher’ in the world. “There is no bigger finisher than Mahi bhai — in Indian cricket and world cricket for me. He has performed day in, day out. I need to learn his patience and ability to read the situations,” he said about Dhoni.
In the 2016 IPL season, Krunal managed 237 runs in 12 games with a top score of 86 and a batting strike-rate of 191.12. Consistent with both bat and ball — through is left-arm spin — Krunal has been integral part of the Mumbai outfit.
“The kind of pressure that is there in IPL is at another level. But when you manage to perform and win a cup there is a special satisfaction,” he said about winning the IPL-12 trophy this year.