Krunal Pandya had an ODI debut to remember in the first game of the three-match series against England on Tuesday and the all-rounder along with brother Hardik revealed that they had brought the bag of their late father in the Indian dressing room to feel his presence around.
Shikhar Dhawan (98) and Virat Kohli (56) might have set the platform at the top, but it was KL Rahul (62*) and Krunal's (58*) blitz in the end that propelled India's score to 317/5. The duo added 111 of their 112 runs in the last nine overs as they sent the English bowlers on a leather hunt. The 57-ball partnership saw the Indians switch gears and take the driver's seat.
"Dream come true, I have worked so hard to be here, especially in the last 1.5 months I have been putting in the hard yards, not in terms of cricket, but everything from taking care of my father. This is all dedicated to my old man, this is due to his blessings. It is an emotional moment for you and me. Getting a cap from you, somewhere up in the air, he will be having a good night today and enjoying how I batted," Krunal told Hardik in a video posted on the official website of BCCI.
"I have not been working thinking about the results, lately my focus has been on how can I be the best version of myself and how I can improve as a human being. The only constant focus is on how I can give myself the best possible opportunity. This is the result that I have got, there is a lot of hard work that has gone behind it. Blessings are there, I feel more secure. Our father passed away on the 16th morning, I was playing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Our father had a habit of keeping everything ready, his shoes, his pant, and his hat. Before this game, I got our dad's bag here, I know he is not with us, I thought I will bring his bag and keep it with us in the dressing room," he added.
Krunal might have scored 58 runs on debut, but Hardik did not have a good show with the bat as he managed to score just one run. However, the swashbuckling all-rounder revealed that he felt good to be dismissed after seeing the heroics of his older brother Krunal.
"I genuinely felt good that I got out, you were batting that well. I was sitting here and thinking it is good that I got out. I saw something very special. Our father passed at 4 in the morning, he was someone who used to keep his stuff ready for the next day. Actually, Krunal has been carrying the bag. He is always going to be with us, this one is you for dad. We will always miss you, you will always be with us," said Hardik.
Jonny Bairstow might have played a 94-run knock, but India bowlers came back strongly to hand the hosts a 66-run victory in the first ODI here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. With this win, India went 1-0 up in the three-match series.
( With inputs from ANI )
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