While talking about his stunning ODI debut, Krunal Pandya has revealed how his dad predicted his ODI call-up after a blazing campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The 30-year-old was visibly emotional during the first ODI against England in Pune, especially after reaching his fifty.
Earlier in the day, Krunal Pandya was overwhelmed with emotion while receiving his maiden India ODI cap from his brother Hardik. An emotional Krunal Pandya also couldn’t hold back his tears during a mid-innings interview, as he remembered his father after a memorable debut.
Speaking ahead of the second ODI against the visitors, Krunal Pandya opened up about the gamut of emotions he experienced during his debut international outing.
“Yes, I was (emotional throughout the game). The last two months have been very tough, especially after my dad passed away. He had seen my batting in the Syed Mushtaq Ali when we were playing in Baroda. He said to me ‘You have been playing well till now, but after this knock, I feel your time will come,” said Krunal Pandya.
After a stunning debut where he excelled with both bat and ball, Krunal Pandya took to social media to pay tribute to his late father. He posted in this regard:
“Whatever has happened in the last two months, the way I batted in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and my debut knock, somewhere down the line I got emotional about how my dad had said this to me. Even I did not expect that I would make my debut against England and bat so well.”
In a poignant side note to the first ODI, Krunal Pandya had carried his father’s clothes with him to the dressing room. Explaining why he did so, Krunal Pandya revealed that it was a promise he made to himself after his father's death, saying in this regard:
“He had a habit of setting out the clothes which he was going to wear during a match. He passed away early morning at 6:00 am. So when I went home after exiting the bubble, my mom told me about the clothes that were kept in his room. At that point, I promised myself that I will take his clothes to the dressing room whenever I make a comeback to the Indian team.”
I tried to keep things simple: Krunal Pandya on his debut outing
Krunal Pandya created history on debut, notching up a 26 ball half-century to record the fastest fifty by an ODI debutant.
The left-hander's magnificent 31 ball 58* helped India to a match-winning total, something that had looked improbable when he came out to bat.
India endured a mid-innings stutter to find themselves at 205/5 when he came out. Krunal Pandya, however, stitched together a rollicking unbeaten 112-run partnership with KL Rahul in less than ten overs to help his team post a competitive total, one that eventually turned out to be a match-winning one.
Talking about his mindset which allowed him to take the attack to England’s bowlers, Krunal Pandya revealed:
“I have learnt from experience that keeping it simple helps your game. If you want to be consistent, you have to play in each situation. My focus was only that; I did not focus on the scoreboard. Lately, I have been doing well because I am keeping it simple. Trying to not complicate it mentally or technically. I am keeping it simple, playing one ball at a time, and I am not predetermining anything.”
Krunal Pandya also had a good showing with the ball. Despite going for a few runs, he came back strongly to dismiss Sam Curran for his first ODI wicket.
The all-rounder credited his team for their self-belief even after England openers Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler put on a rollicking opening stand and threatened to take the game away from the hosts.
“We believed in ourselves, and that was the secret to our comeback. In the first 15 overs, we did bowl some loose deliveries. But it is obvious when you bowl 90 balls, there will be some balls like that. Credit should also go to Jason Roy and the England players for the way they batted. I conceded 36 runs in my first three overs. But not once did I feel I bowled badly. I was focussing on the process and keeping it simple,” revealed Krunal Pandya.
Indian bowlers impressively came back after being taken to the cleaners in the first 14 overs. With Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and fellow debutant Prasidh Krishna combining for nine wickets in the game, Krunal Pandya admitted India’s 66-run-win was down to the effort of their pacers.
“The way Prasidh Krishna came back was commendable, and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) has been a champion bowler. He does exceptional things day in and day out, and even Shardul bowled well. Full credit to the fast-bowling unit for the comeback because it was not easy. The team’s character was very very good," said Krunal Pandya.
Krunal Pandya will now look to back up his debut outing with another stellar performance and help his team clinch the series with a game to spare.