India vs West Indies: ‘I prepare for the big occasions’ - Krunal Pandya | Exclusive
Hardik Pandya is Team India’s rock n’ roll man, its great and fearless all-rounder in-the-making. His older brother Krunal has had a less fiery start, but after emerging as one of Mumbai Indian’s most dependable player in the Indian Premier League, he is hoping to bring the same consistency to the Indian T20 side. He was adjudged as the man-of-the-series in the recently-concluded three-match T20I contest against West Indies.
Maiden man-of-the-series against West Indies. How does it feel?
It obviously feels good. I had played for India A before as well (in West Indies) so that experience helped me.
Not even been a year since your debut. How do you see the journey so far?
I went to Australia, New Zealand and West Indies for the first time with the Indian side and got man-of-the-match awards. I feel I’m improving in every tournament. And that’s where my focus is. Whenever I go for a tournament, I prepare myself and then see if I was a better player than the last series or not. To see the player I was eight months back and what I am now, I’m happy.
What was the mental preparation like?
I was just focussing on my expectations. I didn’t have that good an IPL in terms of batting, so I was focussing more on the basics. It happens that in a few series you perform and you don’t in some, but it’s important to keep improving, keep analysing on what are the things you need to improve, or what you’re doing well. So to go to West Indies and apply myself, get used to the conditions, it helped me a lot.
You’ve only played T20 for India so far.
The ultimate goal is to represent in all formats. It’s not that I’m only thinking or preparing myself for T20Is. I’ve been playing for India A for the last two-and-a-half years and I’ve been doing well. I want to get into the ODI side as well. But again, the focus is on the process. If I keep improving every day, I’ll be more consistent. And if I am consistent, I’ll play all the formats eventually. I think that you can’t be thinking of any one format. I don’t want to be a player who is one dimensional, or play just one format. I want to adapt to all situations or all formats.
How difficult is it to find a place in a side when several people—like Ravindra Jadeja, Vijay Shankar—all performing a similar role?
I think of all the controllable things to be honest. Perform, give the best for the team; whatever is required I’ll do for the team. I don’t think of things that are not in my hand, say selection, umpiring, or pitch conditions.
You and Hardik haven’t played too many international games together. Do the equations change when you’ll are playing for India and not Mumbai Indians?
It’s the same I guess. The focus and the ultimate goal is to make sure your team wins. Whether you are playing for your IPL franchisee, for Baroda or internationals, it doesn’t change. We have played our cricket together from childhood. From club cricket to state cricket, and we have been lucky to be playing for the same franchisee. So that mindset and the approach is the same.
For you as well, blending in easily with the senior team in just 14 matches…
I like big occasions because I feel whatever effort I put in the nets, I prepare for the big occasions. And when it comes to playing for your country, nothing is more than that. Every time you step on to the field for your country, you have a chance to be a hero. I look at things that way and not ‘Oh I’m under pressure, I have to get out of this thing’. I see it as an opportunity.