Devdutt Padikkal had a splendid season in the just-concluded Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He hails from Karnataka and has been playing for RCB since last year. He has also represented Bellary Tuskers in the Karnataka Premier League.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was outstanding in terms of gameplay and competition. What was even intriguing to watch was the performance of the rookie youngsters, and same was the case for Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) uncapped Indian Devdutt Padikkal.
Padikkal had a memorable season, as he finished as RCB's highest run-scorer, with 473 runs from 15 innings at an average of 31.53, including five half-centuries. Although the side could only manage to finish fourth, he was undoubtedly the star performer for the side, as well as one of the bests of the tournament.
Meanwhile, he credited skipper Virat Kohli, who made things easier for him, making him play his natural game. "He makes your game easier and helps you build an innings. He knows exactly what to do in every situation because he is such an experienced player, he's played so much good quality cricket, and he's won so many things. Every time I batted with him, I could learn something new. It was a really great experience for me. I was just trying to take in as much as I can. I really enjoyed it," he told ESPNCricinfo in an exclusive interview.
He had also tweeted a couple of pictures with Kohli, representing then and now. On being asked about it, he said, "[The first one] was from a promotional event around five years ago. He [Kohli] had come to our academy [Karnataka Institute of Cricket]. A few boys from the academy were asked to go and play a match, and he was there. Even Unmukt Chand [the former India Under-19 captain] was there. They were captains of two teams and I was part of Chand's team. After that, everyone was given a medal and Kohli gave my medal to me."
However, Padikkal rued the fact that he could not get to spend much time in the middle with AB de Villiers. "Yeah. He's a special player. Just watching him bat is a treat for your eyes. Throughout the season, he kept telling me to stay in the zone and continue to do what I was doing," he said.
"I remember when we were travelling back from the Mumbai [Indians] game in which I got the 70 , he sent me a text message saying, 'Continue to do that and you're playing really well, just stay in the zone and enjoy yourself'. That was really special because coming from him it was a great honour. I really enjoyed batting with him whenever I could because he makes your job so easy. He just takes on the bowlers from ball one and I enjoyed watching him," added Padikkal.
Speaking more on batting as an opener, Padikkal quoted, "I was just looking to stick to my strengths and do what I do best. In T20 cricket, it's important how the powerplay goes. We had our roles clearly defined, so it was important to get that opening partnership away at a decent rate. And, to an extent, we were able to do that."
He also asserted that he had developed a good rapport with Aaron Finch and loved working with him. "He's a really great person and I enjoyed spending time with him off the field as well. Like I said, all these experienced batsmen make your job easier," he further remarked.
Padikkal is yet to earn his national call-up, but it seems like the day is not that far enough. The 20-year-old possesses impressive domestic stats, having scored more than 2,000 runs across formats in less than 30 matches each, besides having an average of more than 30 all over.
Last Updated 13, Nov 2020, 7:49 PM