When the Mumbai Indians decided to put down two crores to buy Krunal Pandya, it raised a lot of questions as to why they wanted to invest so much in a player who was literally unknown. At that point of time, the only thing that the general public knew was that Krunal was the elder brother of Hardik Pandya who was representing India in the T20 format.
The 2016 IPL has witnessed a total of fourteen games so far, out of which the Mumbai Indians have played five matches and young Krunal Pandya has made a strong statement with bat, ball and in the field. The Mumbai Indians bought both brothers and while Hardik Pandya is better known to the public having represented India in the T20 World Cup, it has been older brother Krunal who has been on fire.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma who has been under pressure after his side lost three matches has been really pleased with the performance of Krunal. He played a key part in helping Mumbai Indians win their recent match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore by sending down four overs for just 27 runs and picking up the two key wickets of Virat Kohli and AB Devilliers.
Krunal is also no mug with the bat as he demonstrated in his performance against the Sunrisers Hyderabad hitting an unbeaten 49 in just 28 balls. Krunal who is 25 years old is also a dynamic fielder and if he continues putting in these performances for the Mumbai Indians he could find himself in the Indian T20 side or might even end up taking his younger brother’s place as Hardik Pandya’s form with both bat and ball has not been all that great.
In a statement, Sharma said “I think he has got something about him, he knows his bowling really well and he understands the conditions really well, so it makes my job easier as a captain he sets his own field which is I think very crucial. It shows that you have got lot of confidence into your bowling”
Both the brothers learnt a lot of their skills in former selector and wicket-keeper’s Kiran Moore’s cricket academy. Moore who is a keen observer of talent also speaks highly of Krunal Pandya who rates him as a quality all-rounder and someone who can hit the ball a long way.
The 2 crore investment that the Mumbai Indians made could turn out to be a key investment if Krunal continues his rich vein of form.