Was confident I would go to Mumbai Indians in IPL auction: Krunal Pandya
Mumbai Indians broke the bank on Saturday to bring back Krunal Pandya in their squad, using a Right to Match card to seal the deal after a bidding war among franchises saw the all-rounder emerge as the highest-paid uncapped player at ₹8.8 crore, thus coughing up 22 times his base price. (IPL 2018: FULL PLAYER LIST & SALARIES)
A consistent performer last season with 243 runs and 10 wickets under his belt, Krunal’s contribution was a significant factor for Mumbai Indians to emerge champions last year. In a candid chat with Hindustan Times a day after the auction, the 26-year-old bared his thoughts on the price tag, his future and on his brother Hardik Pandya.
Did you ever think that you would fetch that price in the auction?
Honestly I was expecting it because the way I’ve performed in the last two seasons, I was expecting somewhat this amount. But I’m even happier to be a part of Mumbai Indians again. And also, playing with Hardik would be one more thing.
Were you half-confident that an RTM might just be reserved for you?
To be honest, it wasn’t half. I was fully confident that I would go to Mumbai Indians and they’ll use the Right to Match card for me.
MI won the IPL last year and the Pandya brothers played a key role. Your thoughts?
Me and Hardik have played together so that’s an added advantage for the team and for us as well. We have been playing together since childhood so we know each other’s game as well. At the same time we mostly bat between positions 4 and 6 and I know (Kieron) Pollard very well. So it’s good if the three of us are playing together.
Speaking of Hardik, he’s already being compared to the legendary Kapil Dev by a few…
I guess that’s something we both (me and Hardik) know that these comparison things and all will come if he performs in future for the Indian team. But if you focus too much on comparisons, you won’t be able to concentrate on your game or cricket.
His recent performances in SA, however, have been sort of a let-down. Did you speak to him?
If you see his first Test match he did well with both the bat and the ball. He got run out and he realized it was his mistake. The positive side is that he scored runs when India needed. He didn’t get that many overs but whatever he got he bowled well. I know he got out due to his mistakes, but there was nothing wrong with his technique, he wasn’t looking out of his zone. So the only thing that he needs to improve is his shot selection. He has the technique to play overseas and I feel he’ll only improve.
Did you tell him anything?
You have to tell things to a player when he’s down or not ready to accept something. But right now he knows if he’s doing wrong and is accepting that, which is important.
Did the two of you speak yesterday?
He called me after the game and was very happy with what had happened to both of us. He was really happy because we would both be playing for Mumbai Indians.
Despite all of this, you haven’t played for India yet. Does that bother you a bit?
It doesn’t bother me but to be honest, when I first started playing cricket I wanted to represent the country. That is the ultimate goal for me but again, I don’t want to be a player who plays for just one or two games. Thus, even if it comes a bit late in my career, I don’t mind since the later it comes, the more mature cricketer I might be! I know that the dream will come very soon.
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