Having a dream of representing the country and playing with younger brother Hardik, all-rounder Krunal Pandya believes he is one step closer to making it into the senior team after maiden India ‘A’ call-up. “Getting an India ‘A’ call is a chance of making it to the senior team. Now, I feel I’m one step closer to playing for India alongside Hardik. We have been dreaming of playing together for the national team,” Krunal said during an exclusive interaction with indianexpress.com.
Ever since making his debut for Mumbai Indians in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League, the elder of the Pandya brothers has never taken a step backwards despite suffering a quadriceps muscle injury. Recalling the time when he was recovering, Krunal said, “injury made me mentally stronger. It taught me how to fight the difficulties and overcome the hurdles.” After suffering the muscle injury, the all-rounder said following proper fitness, training and diet are something he follows to keep himself away from injuries.
Right after making a comeback, the left-handed played a crucial role in Baroda’s run in Vijay Hazare Trophy where he was the highest run-scorer for his team. “This year’s domestic season was a big boost for me. It helped me find my form back before going into the IPL. I was also the top scorer for Baroda then my performance for Mumbai was much better than the previous editions. It was satisfying as I was among the runs and took more wickets. I enjoy pressure situations as it motivates me.”
When asked about the competition around, Krunal said “We all are of the same age and with some of the players like Manish Pandey having more experience than some of us. It will let us share our experience and help each other improve our game. And with one month of time, before we leave for the tour, I’ll look to prepare better to give my best.”
Krunal, who bats at number three for Baroda, is open to batting at any position depending on the situation during India’s tour of South Africa, where they also play Australia in the tri-series opener on July 26.
“As a player, I’m very flexible and ready to take any challenge. If the team requires me to bat up the order or come in the end, I am open to all. Eventually, I will look to contribute in any way possible and that is my main motive.”
Ever since making his debut against New Zealand in 2016, younger brother Hardik Pandya has grown as a player and has been a regular in India’s limited-overs squad. Commenting on Hardik’s rise, Krunal said, “The way he is currently playing, he has been consistent.”