Sunil Gavaskar was effusive in his praise for Krunal Pandya after the debutant put in a stellar display on Tuesday. The former cricketer praised Krunal Pandya for taking the pressure off KL Rahul during India’s first innings.
Krunal Pandya had an outstanding debut for India, with his unbeaten 31 ball 58 breaking several records. He also picked up a wicket in the second innings, which helped India beat England by 66 runs in the series opener.
Sunil Gavaskar discussed Krunal Pandya’s electric batting effort on Star Sports. He said Pandya’s debut knock was even more impressive because it allowed a struggling KL Rahul to play himself into form.
"With KL Rahul not quite hitting at that particular point, somebody had to take the initiative. Krunal took the initiative and eased it for KL Rahul. That’s what team spirit is all about – easing the pressure off your teammate. That’s why his batting was so impressive,” Gavaskar said.
The duo got together in the 41st over, with India struggling at 205/5 after a strong start to the innings. Krunal Pandya and KL Rahul then stitched together a 112-run partnership in no time, powering India to a competitive 317.
Krunal Pandya started the assault, dispatching Sam Curran for three fours in the next over. The debutant continued to play aggressively, allowing KL Rahul to get his eye in.
The wicket-keeper batsman came into the game under pressure after a miserable T20I series and started his innings slowly. KL Rahul was 15 of 22 balls at one stage, but Krunal Pandya’s blitzkrieg took the pressure off him, with the batsman scoring 47 runs in the next 21 balls.
Sunil Gavaskar also praised Krunal Pandya for playing with freedom on his debut.
“It was (fabulous to watch Krunal Pandya bat). Don’t forget that he was making his debut. So, it’s very difficult for somebody to play with the freedom that he showed. The shots that he was playing straight from the time that he came in."
VVS Laxman in awe of Krunal Pandya’s stroke play
Krunal Pandya's stunning showing saw him bring up his fifty in just 26 balls, the fastest by a debutant in ODIs. Pandya’s full repertoire of shots was on display as he dispatched England’s bowlers to all parts of the ground.
Discussing Krunal Panda’s impressive knock, VVS Laxman praised the 30-year-old for not getting fazed by the big stage.
“He [Krunal] took the aggressive role and played his natural game. Just like the way he does in the IPL, just like he did in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He’s in good prime form and when you are in that kind of positive mindset, you are going to play those kinds of shots. Unbelievable execution of stroke play and fearless attitude.”
Krunal Pandya will get another chance to show off his skills when India take on England in the second ODI on March 26.