I was very nervous, says RCB debutant Devdutt Padikkal
As a very well-known saying repeated on multiple occasions every year goes, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is one tournament where talent meets opportunity. In fact, there have been a number of such examples. There are numerous cricketers who have used the IPL to showcase their skills and have gone on to represent their national side.
Year after year, there are some new and young players who shine on the big stage and make the world sit up and take notice. Devdutt Padikkal has been first to do so in this 2020 season of the IPL.
The young Karnataka left-handed batsman has been in smashing form in domestic Indian cricket. He has been scoring big runs and the world has been talking about him. He made his first-class debut in December 2018 but his List A and T20 debut matches took place in the 2019-20 domestic season.
Padikkal was the breakout star for Karnataka in the 2019-20 season. Irrespective of the format, the Kerala-born Karnataka cricketer got runs and that too big runs. He topped the run charts of both the premier domestic white-ball competitions in India.
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-over tournament), the left-handed opening batsman smashed 609 runs at an average of 67.66. He made two hundreds and five half-centuries. On the other hand, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20 tournament), Padikkal aggregated 580 runs. He had an average of 64.44 and was striking at 175.75. He scored five fifties and a hundred. Moreover, he even hit a stunning 33 sixes, the most in the 2019-20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Padikkal was a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lineup in the 2019 season but didn’t get to play. However, he was one of the 13 players to be retained before the auction for the 2020 season. Given his form, there was a lot of excitement about the possibility of him opening the batting for RCB in 2020. He was even batting well in practice games and hence, with the form that he has been in and the one which he has been demonstrating, Padikkal had to start in the playing XI.
The left-hander got a go ahead of someone like Parthiv Patel and showed that he has the pedigree to succeed at the highest level as well. There were a few nerves early on as he took about an over to settle down. However, once he spent time in the middle, Padikkal grew in confidence and batted beautifully.
The 20-year-old went out all guns blazing in the powerplay and took the attack to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) bowlers, giving RCB a strong start alongside the experienced Aaron Finch. Padikkal played all around the wicket and went on to register a fine half-century. He became the top scorer for RCB and went on to make 56 and shared a crucial 90-run opening stand with Finch.
“I was very nervous upon hearing the news of making my debut. But when I came to bat I settled down after playing a few balls. The last one month that we practiced, I learnt a lot from Virat bhaiya. I kept asking him questions whenever I was around him. Even today, when I was playing with Finch, he showed a lot of confidence in me,” Padikkal was quoted speaking to Yuzvendra Chahal on iplt20.com after RCB’s win over SRH.
Padikkal played a huge role in RCB’s victory and it was the first time since 2016 that they won the first game of an IPL season. They next play Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Thursday (24 September).
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