Devdutt Padikkal: The next big thing in Indian cricket

Photo credit: IPL
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As always is the case with the Indian Premier League (IPL), it is not only about big guns. It provides a brilliant platform to upcoming cricketers vying to emulate, if not upstage the superstars. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal is one of the brightest kids to emerge from the IPL this season with some scintillating performances to his name.

Pocketing big-money deals, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the game and showcasing their mettle in front of a global audience has allowed many of the young Turks to flourish and hon their skills with the best in the business.

What makes Padikkal’s rise to the fame more admirable is that in a short span, he’s succeeded in creating a niche for himself. After all, it is a commendable feat to be the leading scorer of a team comprising of batsmen of Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers’ calibre.

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Another impressive aspect about Padikkal’s batting is he’s complimenting the other three at the crease in terms of when he needs to be the aggressor and when he needs to play the second fiddle. For a 20-year-old, he’s batting with the maturity beyond his years which is a heartening sight for every Indian cricket fan.

Devdutt Padikkal in action in IPL. Photo credit: BCCI

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Devdutt Padikkal shines

The southpaw is on a scoring spree for RCB has already made significant contributions to three of RCB’s wins this season. Given that he’s surrounded by a lot of experience at the top of our order if he is unsure about any given situation he gets lots of guidance from the big three.

“It’s been an enjoyable experience in the IPL so far. You know they (Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers) have so much experience so much knowledge. It’s so much fun to be around them and I am learning so much every day and I am very very happy about it,” said Padikkal, in an interview.

For Padikkal, IPL is just a continuation to a sensational domestic season. He was the top-scorer in the Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament with 580 runs in 12 games. He was Karnataka’s highest run-getter in the Vijay Hazare and Ranji Trophy too, scoring 1,838 runs across all formats.

On the back of a successful domestic campaign, later in 2019, he was selected in the India ‘A’ squad for the Deodhar Trophy held in Ranchi, but for many, it is just a matter of time before Padikkal dons the Indian blue.

“Conditions in the UAE are different from what we are used to in India. But we’ve spent a good time in Dubai to get prepared. We can adjust quickly, as we have had some quality training sessions here,” Padikkal said, talking about the pitches in the UAE.

Devdutt Padikkal and IPL

Having been associated with RCB since 2o19, it is this year that Padikkal got his first shot at playing XI and he’s made most of it. He has scored 63 against the Rajasthan Royals, 54 against Mumbai Indians, and 56 against Sun Risers Hyderabad. What was on his mind when he went out to bat – did he have any specific target in mind?

“I just wanted to bat anywhere that I could, batting positions didn’t matter. I just wanted to contribute to the side and give a good start to the team to carry on from there,” Padikkal states.

Padikkal, who is known for his big hits in domestic cricket is learnt to have impressed both skipper Virat Kohli and coach Mike Hesson.

Many have gone to this extent to say Padikkal’s consistency at the top has made things easy for Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. If Padikkal keeps working hard, gets consistency to his game, add shots to his already impressive repertoire, then the sky is the limit for this immensely talented lad.

But he knows, the real test lies ahead. Opponents will come with their homework done against him, go through his batting videos, find and exploit his weakness in the coming matches. By the looks of his calm nature and confident approach, he has it in him to remain consistent.

Devdutt’s IPL (and perhaps Indian) cricketing story is just beginning. If the apparent rationale can extend his domestic success to IPL, bigger things are in store for Devdutt Padikkal.

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