Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Krunal Pandya, the brother of India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, admitted that he was delighted to be retained by the Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, which took place in Bangalore over the weekend.
Pandya’s name came up late in the auction, but despite there being a lot of interest for him, the Indians decided to use their Right to Match Card (RTM Card) on him to retain his services for a whopping INR 8.8 crores.
Given that price he sold at, Pandya became the most expensive uncapped player to be sold at the IPL auction in history.
When asked how he felt, Pandya admitted that he had no doubt the Indians would use their RTM Card on him.
“To be honest, I am not surprised,” he told mid-day. “I was expecting this (to be retained by MI) because the way I have performed in the last two seasons (237 runs at 39.50 and six wickets at 39.33 in 2016 IPL, 243 runs at 34.71 and 10 wickets at 27.30 in 2017 IPL). I expected to go for this much.
“I was worried because my turn came later in the auction. That was when I felt I may not go for a high price. The biggest thing is that I wanted to play for MI only. I was confident that the RTM card will be used for me. But eventually, it is an auction and anything can happen.”
Despite having sold for a record-breaking amount in regards to an uncapped player, Pandya insisted that he is not feeling the heat.
“I don’t take the pressure of the price tag,” he said. “In my first year I went for R2crore with just a few Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 matches under my belt and no first-class debut yet.
“Even at that time, I did not take pressure. In fact, a higher value boosts you to do well. Playing quality cricket is important. It is quite a lot of money. We will see what to do later. When the money comes into my account, I will sort of believe it.”
When asked how he felt to be playing alongside his brother again, Pandya said: “We have always played together from club, to state and the IPL as well.”
As for his future aspirations, Pandya is determined to join his brother in the national team. However, he wants to ensure he represents India over a long span of time rather than being a one-hit wonder.
“My dream is to represent India,” he said. “I dreamt of playing for my country from the age of six. But I don’t want to play for India in just one or two games. I want to play consistently at that level. That’s my next aim now.”