Krunal Pandya at ODI debut: Got dad’s bag to dressing room to keep him close

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India all-rounder Krunal Pandya had his late father Himanshu’s travel bag in the dressing room as he tried to keep him close ahead of his outstanding ODI debut in which he smashed the fastest 50 by a debutant.

Celebrating his 30th birthday on Wednesday, Krunal and his younger brother and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya spoke about the close relationship they shared with the Senior Pandya, who died of a heart attack in January.

“So basically the thing is, he passed away on 16th morning and I was playing Syed Mushtaq Ali on that day. He had a habit of keeping his clothes ready in the night, his shoes, his pant, his shirt, hat as well.

Apart from his 58-run knock, Krunal also picked up a wicket in the game, against England, which India won by 66 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. He broke down while speaking to the host broadcaster after the match and was comforted by his brother.

Kruna has gone through a lot in the past few months. After being dropped from the Indian T20 team, he was caught in a spat with all-rounder Deepak Hooda before losing his father, who had played a key role in making him a cricketer.

“…again somewhere down the line, I just feel his (late father’s) blessings are there, just feel more secure…this is for him,” said Krunal.

“It shows in your body language as well, but not many people know, our father is actually with us in the dressing room, Krunal has been carrying…our father passed away at 4 o’clock in the morning, and he was someone who used to always keep his stuff ready for the next day.

Krunal, a left-handed batsman, and a slow-left arm orthodox bowler, who has played 18 T20s, has been also playing for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians.