'My brother is seedha saadha. He will spend the money on me only,' Hardik Pandya says about Krunal Pandya bagging a Rs 2 crore contract from the Mumbai Indians.
The Pandyas are celebrating!
While all-rounder Hardik made his debut for the Indian team in the T20 series in Australia, his older brother Krunal snapped a dream deal of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) with the Mumbai Indians at the 2016 Indian Premier League auction.
Krunal, who is relatively unknown, will fetch 20 times more money than Hardik who was retained for his base price of Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) by the same franchise, the Mumbai Indians.
The Pandyas hail from Baroda and their story reminds us of the better-known siblings from the city: The Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan. The Pathans and Pandyas play for the same Ranji Trophy team and like the Pathans, the Pandyas are also all-rounders.
Right-handed Hardik backs his military pace bowling with some hard-hitting lower down the order. Krunal bowls left arm spin and is known for his aggressive batting on the domestic circuit.
Hardik and Krunal spoke with Aruneel Sadadekar/Rediff.com after the IPL auction.
What is the feeling like after the auction?
Hardik: My father is super happy. It's a dream come true. My brother and I will be playing for the same IPL team.
First, there were celebrations when I made my India debut and now Krunal bagging a super deal makes it a double delight for us.
Krunal, did you expect the Mumbai Indians to pick you?
Krunal: Frankly yes, because they have been following me for two years now. With Hardik in the team, I had an idea that I was in the reckoning.
My only doubt was that I was out of the game for a year because of a serious shoulder injury. I knew both Mumbai and the Delhi Daredevils were following me and I expected a contract in this auction, but never dreamt of bagging a Rs 2 crore deal.
I had gone for regular training at 10.30 am as I knew my name would feature post lunch. Post lunch the entire family was following it. Hardik and I couldn't control our excitement when the bid started increasing.
I can't express my happiness. It is not only because of the money, but since Hardik and I will play for the same team.
You said the Mumbai Indians were following you for two years. Can you explain?
Krunal: Their talent scouts. They attend all domestic matches (mainly T20). It started with the trials last year. They were impressed with my batting and bowling.
Then at the 2015 DY Patil T20 tournament (Navi Mumbai), I had done well against Reliance and was one of the top performers in the tournament.
It was followed by a 25-ball 50 against Mumbai in the 2015 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. I was fully aware that both Delhi and Mumbai had their eyes on me.
Hardik, you are the younger one, but you will be the senior team-mate in the MI camp. Can we expect sibling rivalry? What tips will you have for your older brother?
Hardik: It will not be much different as we both play for Baroda. Only the platform is much bigger now. We don't have any rivalry when playing in the same team. Since childhood we have been developing our game together through feedback.
I have full confidence in my older brother's abilities. We can help Mumbai Indians win more titles.
Krunal, what was it like when you were out of the game for a year and Hardik was making it happen in the IPL and later with his India debut?
Krunal: I was frustrated initially (because of the injury), but I realised that this happens with every player and decided to fight back.
Hardik's success has only served as motivation for me. We have played together since childhood and he playing at the highest level gave me confidence that even I could do it.
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed Hardik the India cap on his India debut I had goose bumps.
The Pathan brothers also play for Baroda. Irfan, the younger one, shone ahead of Yusuf. It's the same with you guys.
Krunal: (laughs) I just hope that the script holds true. I am confident of playing for India in the next couple of years.
The Pathan brothers are superstars here in Baroda. We have learnt a lot from them. Irfan in particular has been very supportive. We will like to achieve what they done at the highest level.
Hardik: Krunal and I, we look up to Irfan and Yusuf. People follow us now, but is the result of the hard work we have put together for more than 12 years.
Hardik, how do you feel when Krunal has bagged 20 times more money than you?
Hardik: (laughs) Money doesn't matter. My brother is seedha saadha. He will spend the money on me only (laughs). He doesn't like anything. I am the more stylish one and like to try new things.
I am happy he is getting his credit after a long period of hard work. God has heard our prayers. It's slowly falling in place.