The Rise of Krunal Pandya: From losing his father to playing maiden ODI for India

As soon as Krunal received his maiden ODI cap, he kissed the Indian badge on it and looked towards the sky, certainly showing his dad — who passed away in January this year — his achievement.

Aditya Kumar Editor

Updated - 17 July 2021 3:13 pm

“This one is for my dad. It was very emotional” — These words from Krunal Pandya after his maiden ODI knock on Tuesday fairly describe the phase he has been through in the recent past. From losing his dad to making his ODI debut, the all-rounder has certainly seen the worst and best of his life in a span of just two months and eight days.

It was an emotional moment for Krunal when his younger brother Hardik presented him his maiden ODI cap. As soon as the southpaw received the cap, he kissed the Indian badge on it and looked towards the sky, certainly showing his dad — who passed away in January this year — his achievement.

Here is the moment:

The rise of Krunal Pandya

2016 was the year when Krunal Pandya rose to fame. Even before making his first-class debut, he was picked by Mumbai Indians for a whopping sum of INR 2 crores ahead of IPL that year. Notably, Hardik was already a part of MI squad by then.

Krunal proved his worth in the team by scoring 237 runs across 12 games at an average of 39.50 and taking 6 wickets as well. His heroics included a 37-ball 86 against Delhi Daredevils in that season which helped him getting noticed at the bigger stage. The player never looked back since then and got better with each passing day.

Despite all, it took Krunal next two years and six months to don the Indian jersey. He made his international debut in a T20I game against West Indies in 2018. However, his T20I career couldn’t be that impressive and he had to wait for another two years and four months to play in any other format for India. The memorable day arrived for Krunal and indeed in the best possible way, however, by then the cricketer certainly had been through the hardest time of his life.

In January this year, while Krunal was captaining Baroda in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he lost his dad, a person who had been the pillar of his strength since his childhood. The player withdrew his name form the domestic season to be with his family in the testing time. However, the loss further pumped up Krunal to do much better and he ultimately ended up winning a spot for himself in the ODI squad for India in the first ODI against England on Tuesday.

After getting his maiden ODI cap, Krunal couldn’t hold his tears and started crying with Hardik consoling him on the memorable moment.

Krunal then played a match-defining knock of unbeaten 58 off just 31 balls, which was also the fastest ODI fifty (off 26 balls) scored by any player on debut. Post this knock, he broke once again during the interview and the only words he could manage to say were: “This one is for my dad. It was very emotional.”

Krunal’s tears melted the people across the globe and soon the social media got flooded with congratulatory and consolatory messages for the player. It was not only Krunal who cried, he indeed made whole India cry with his emotional knock.