Krunal Pandya – 'street smart' and all-round show

Krunal, elder brother of Hardik Pandya, walked into the international stage two years after his brother; here's a performance review.

India's Krunal Pandya exults after dismissing West Indies' Kieron Pollard during the first T20 in Kolkata.   -  AFP

Brothers from Baroda. One spinner, the other seamer. One bats left, one right. The Pandyas are a few steps away from matching the Pathans. Nursing a back injury, Hardik Pandya missed being a part of elder brother Krunal’s international debut in the three-match T20I series against Windies at home.

Being a regular in the side when fit, the ‘brothers in blue’ moment — that happened in the IPL in Mumbai Indians colours — could repeat itself, this time in Team India blue. India limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who led India in the 3-0 win over the Caribbeans, trusts Krunal Pandya to stand out in the long run.

Among the victories, Krunal had an all-round contribution in the first game at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

The left-hander remained unbeaten on 21 off 9 balls to guide India home, and his slow left-arm spin made T20 specialist Kieron Pollard his first wicket. He returned with a tight economy of 3.75.

Read: Krunal makes early impact on T20I debut

“Krunal is a street smart cricketer. We have seen that with the way he approaches the game. He is never afraid of bowling to any batsman whether the batsman is set, whether he is a left-hander etc. We have seen that when he played the IPL.

“I am quite impressed how he approached these three international games. He has got a great ability to play for India for a long period of time, because he can also bat,” Rohit praised the newcomer after the series victory.

Also read: Australia will be a different ball-game, says Rohit Sharma

Krunal remained wicketless in the second and third game, but the first impression could prick the selectors.

“You have seen how he finished the first game. He came and played shots which was not expected from somebody who is making his debut. He is fearless like his brother. We expect that from a lot of players,” said Rohit, who is also the captain of Mumbai Indians.

“At the end of the day, you need characters in the team like Krunal and Hardik who are not afraid of expressing themselves,” he added.

Being in the T20I squad for the tour of Australia starting November 21, Krunal has the perfect chance to prove his overseas worth and cement his place in the side.