Hardik worked on his game during his time away, says brother Krunal

Cricket is always a priority in Hardik Pandya’s life, says his elder brother Krunal Pandya.

Krunal and Hardik Pandya put up a crucial 54-run stand off 26 balls to propel Mumbai to 168.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Hardik Pandya’s quickfire 32 helped Mumbai Indians get 20 to 30 runs more than it targeted when it batted on a “tricky” pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla here, according to his elder brother Krunal Pandya.

Hardik struck two fours and three sixes in the business end of Mumbai Indians' innings to lift MI to 168/5 in its 20 overs. Krunal had played a valuable knock as well; he was less adventurous in his 26-ball 37.

The Mumbai bowlers then dominated the match as Delhi Capitals slumped to a 40-run defeat.

Read: Chahar, Pandya brothers set up Mumbai's dominant win

Reflecting on the final few overs that changed the complexion of the team’s innings, Krunal said, “While batting it was a very tricky wicket. When I went inside and when Hardik came, we were not able to aim [for] 170, we were aiming [for] around 145 which [would have been] a good total on this wicket. The way Hardik batted — he scored at a strike-rate of more than 200 — it changed the momentum for us and we [ended up with] almost 20-30 more runs.”

Hardik has been exemplary in the way he has worked hard on his game, felt Krunal. Away from cricket for a few months due to his controversial comments on a television show, he worked on his fitness, too.

“When Hardik was away from cricket due to injury and the issue, for seven-eight months, he has worked on his fitness a lot. I’ve seen him from childhood when we played together; cricket has been a priority in his life, whatever the situation may be.

"I’ve seen very few players have the work ethics he has, the hard work he puts in day in and day out. His goal or our goals have always been to improve our own game. If you keep improving your game, you’ll be consistent.

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"In his time away from cricket, he worked on his game and he’s getting his [rewards]. What I like about Hardik is his never-give-up attitude. He is very dedicated when it comes to his cricket.

"Since he was 14-15 years old, his priority has been cricket. Every year, if you see, he has added something or the other to his game. That is what he continues and he has a lot of self-belief. He is very confident. He has to contribute in every game. I myself learn a lot of things from him,” Krunal said.

Krunal, too, seems to be busy adding new elements to his game. While bowling, he bowled a delivery via a weird action. Discussing it, he said, “We have to do something different in the T20 format. These days, the skills that players possess — the ability to hit sixes from the word go off spinners, as a bowler you try something new. That is what I tried to do. At that time, Rishabh Pant was ready to [play aggressively] so I felt I could bowl that kind of delivery, so I did it,” he said.

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