Nearly a decade ago, the Pathan brothers (Irfan and Yusuf) took the Indian cricket by storm and became the most-talked about siblings when they represented India together in the same team. On April 16, Pandya brothers repeated the feat during the Indian Premier League (IPL). Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya became the first pair of Indian siblings to play for the same team in the T20 league.
While Hardik was picked up by Mumbai Indians (MI) last year for Rs 10 lakh, Krunal was bought for Rs 2 crore this year. "It was a special moment when Krunal joined me in the Mumbai squad. We always dreamt of playing together," Hardik told Times of India. Though younger to Krunal, Hardik got the opportunity to play for India in World T20 this year. "I was excited to see Hardik in the Indian blue jersey and now that we are playing in the same IPL team, I feel very proud," said 25-year-old Krunal.
But their journey to fame and success wasn't easy. The family plunged into financial crisis after their father Himanshu Pandya, an automobile loan agent, suffered a heart attack in 2011. Spending on cricket became tough with their annual income dipping to just Rs 4 lakh then.
"We used to come to the ground in car as it was difficult to carry two cricket kits on one two-wheeler. So many thought that we have enough money. But only we knew how we filled petrol worth just Rs 100 and brought extra fuel in a bottle to keep the car running," Krunal recalled.
Former India keeper Kiran More spotted the brothers' talent when they were brought to his academy. "They were called Maggi brothers as they used to survive on noodles when they couldn't afford to have full meal," More said.
They finally got some financial stability when Hardik began playing in the Baroda Ranji team in 2013.(By Tushar Tere)