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. (More Cricket News)
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.
"So what I did was just before the game, I got his bag from Baroda here, and I thought, I know he is not with us, but those clothes, which he was supposed to wear in that game, I thought I'll bring that and keep in the dressing room," Krunal revealed on BCCI's official website.
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 braodcaster after the match and was comforted by his brother.
"Obviously, I worked so hard to be here...not just in cricket, but in terms of everything, taking care of my diet to fitness, to everything and again this is all dedicated to the old man
"...his blessings are there with us and obviously it was very emotional for you and me, both of us, and again getting a cap from you," Krunal told Hardik.
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.
"...my focus has always been about how I can be the best version of myself, how I can improve, not just as a cricketer, but how can I improve as a human being as well.
"...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.
Hardik, on his part, revealed that Krunal's body language showed his love for their late father.
"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 has been carrying the bag which has his (stuff)," revealed Hardik.
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.
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