After his match-winning performance in the final T20I against Australia in Sydney on Sunday, India all-rounder Krunal Pandya on Sunday revealed that he had a “difficult 24 hours” after being clubbed for 53 runs from four overs in the first match of the series.

Pandya bounced back well after that nightmare start to tour, picking up two wickets in the second game and followed that up with a career-best 4/36 in Sydney, which set the tone for India’s series-levelling six-wicket win.

“I was very difficult when you get hammered like that in the first game you play here,” said Krunal. “It was not easy to come out of that, to be honest. I had to back myself much more. Moreover, I didn’t have games under my belt. [But] it feels good to come back back well. [Ups and downs] are a part and parcel of T20 cricket.”

“It was difficult for me 24 hours. It took my time and in the second game, I was clear with my plans. It gives you hope that you belong at the big stage.”

Krunal’s efforts with the ball was backed up by captain Virat Kohli, who yet again steered his team home in a chase. The 27-year-old lauded Kohli’s efforts. “It was a slightly tricky chase but Virat Kohli has done this consistently over a long time. We have the self-belief and bat deep but having Virat in the middle is something else.”

Krunal remarked that Kohli’s intense on-field personalty contrasted with his demeanour off it. “On the ground, he is aggressive. But, of the field, he is easy going, cracks jokes and lightens the mood. There are lot of things you learn from him. At this moment, he is even beating the law of averages.”

Despite consistent performances for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and domestic cricket, Krunal had to wait for his chance in the Indian set-up, who are spoilt for choice in white-ball cricket. “Obviously, I had to wait. I was confident that whenever I do get an opportunity, I’d grab it with both hands. This is just the second series for me. It is a long journey and this is just the beginning. I am focusing on the process than results.”

On a lighter note, Krunal said that younger brother Hardik, who is recovering from an injury, had given him a hard time after the 1st T20I in Brisbane. “We don’t talk about cricket much but Hardik was making fun of me after the first game that I went for so many runs. I do the same when he has a bad game as well.”