IPL 2021: Padikkal eager to forge his own identity

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 30, 2021
Devdutt Padikkal of the Royal Challengers Bangalore during this season's IPL. — BCCI/IPL

The 20-year-old opener won the emerging player award when the tournament was staged in the UAE last year

After a breakthrough season when the IPL was staged in the UAE, rising star Devdutt Padikkal is eager to forge his own identity in a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up this season.

The 20-year-old racked up 473 runs from 15 matches with five half-centuries and a highest score of 74 to be the eighth top run getter in his debut season. He cracked 51 boundaries and eight sixes and had a strike rate of 124.80 and averaged 31.53. That saw the Bangalorean claim the Emerging Player award.

Padikkal scored heavily in domestic cricket, heading into the IPL and continued that rich vein of form by scoring a maiden hundred against the Rajasthan Royals.

And Padikkal is riding on the confidence gained from last season.

“Last year, there were so many learnings for me from the season as a whole and each match gave me something new and something I could pick up on from the people I had around me,” said Padikkal.

“So, last year was a great experience and coming into this season, I was much more confident and really sure about myself and my shots. I think that really helps when you are in a tournament like this, you have to really know your strengths and the shots that you can play. That is something I have really picked up on this season,” he added.

Padikkal also wants to take up more responsibility and try and emulate the likes of his captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and new signing Glenn Maxwell.

“That is something I’ve been looking to do in the domestic season as well. We have some really great players in our domestic team Karnataka. That is something I’ve always looked to do, take the responsibility whenever possible and really be the main man and in whatever team I play for. So, that is something I continue to look to do and having such cricketers around me just makes me want to play even better,” Padikkal said.

The young gun was involved in a mammoth opening partnership with Kohli as they chased down 178 in 16.3 overs, without losing a wicket, against the Royals.

Padikkal revealed it was all about rotating strike and batting deep.

“It was pretty simple. The momentum was with us and we were really hitting the ball well. And once we got into that rhythm, we had to just keep going as long as we could because we knew that as soon as a new batsman comes in, it takes some time. So, we wanted to continue to build that partnership and go as deep as possible and. Once we got into that partnership, we knew we are going to go long. We both were playing to each other's strength and we just kept rotating. So, it really helped,” he said.

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