IPL auction 2018: Knew RTM card would be used for me, says Krunal Pandya

Updated: Jan 29, 2018, 20:19 IST | Harit N Joshi

Baroda's Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - made a significant mark on this year's auction. The Mumbai Indians players together pocketed close to Rs 20 crore with younger brother Hardik, who is in South Africa

Krunal Pandyas
MI all-rounder Krunal Pandya

Baroda's Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - made a significant mark on this year's auction. The Mumbai Indians players together pocketed close to Rs 20 crore with younger brother Hardik Pandya, who is in South Africa, fetching Rs 11 crore. Krunal Pandya made a splash on Saturday with MI using the Right To Match card to retain the services of the all-rounder for Rs 8.8 crore. That made him the Indian Premier League's most expensive uncapped Indian player ever. He called his wife Pankhuri his lucky charm for the massive surge in his fortunes. Krunal spoke to mid-day yesterday about being retained by MI, battling a quadricep injury in the last two years and his ultimate aim now.
Excerpts:

Were you surprised with the amount you fetched?
To be honest, I am not surprised. I was expecting this (to be retained by MI) because the way I have performed in the last two seasons (237 runs in nine innings and six wickets in 2016 IPL, 243 runs and 10 wickets 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.

Will the price tag add some pressure now?
I don't take the pressure of the price tag. 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.

How will it feel playing with Hardik again?
It is like sone pe suhaaga. We have always played together from club, to state and the IPL as well.

The injuries must have been frustrating...
I was doing really well. I was the highest wicket-taker and run-scorer for Baroda in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The moment I got fit, I played in all tournaments and I also played in the India 'A' games against South Africa. I did well there too. Apart from the first game, I did well with the bat and ball. In fact, in the last game I got injured, but I still played that match and helped India 'A' win the game. I felt good about it. But the last five months were very frustrating. It was an injury which recurred and it took me almost four to five months to recover. It was a strange injury (quadriceps). I was quite confident that I would play for India, but the injury hampered my chances.

How did you deal with the frustration?
I learnt a lot in the last four to five months when I was injured, Mentally, I am very strong. I have been dealing with the injuries since I played in the IPL for the first time. I injured my shoulder and had a surgery for it. I did not play any cricket for six months before my first IPL. But the last four to five months were a bit difficult because the injury was not getting cured. Mentally you have to be strong and I have always believed that whatever happens, happens for the best.

Tell us about your aim to play for India
My dream is to represent India. 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.

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