IPL 2021 video: How Kohli's stirring speech inspired Padikkal to first hundred

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 23, 2021
Devdutt Padikkal of the Royal Challengers Bangalore plays a shot. (BCCI)

Ahead of the match, Kohli spoke about being 100 percent, showing intent and playing fearless cricket

Young Devdutt Padikkal conjured his first IPL hundred as the Royal Challengers Bangalore waltzed their way to a dominant 10-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals, to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

And captain Virat Kohli had a hand in that as his stirring speech on the eve of the game at the Wankhede Stadium, inspired the 20-year-old.

Ahead of the match, Kohli spoke about being 100 percent, showing intent and playing fearless cricket.

“We know we haven’t had games where we have been 100 percent and that’s going to happen in cricket,” Kohli had said in the dressing room.

“Our peak performances in a tournament like this would be ranging from 90 to 95 percent. Very rarely do we get to have that game with the bat, ball and the field where we are absolutely fearless.

"And if you ask me, we have to do that in the field, with the bat, with the ball, absolute positive intent. I don’t want to have to see fielders hanging back. I felt that in my head. When you start a tournament, you are not quite there in the ring, quite ready to attack and finish at 15 yards and try to take that one-hander, try to take a brilliant catch. You always a little bit skeptical whether it is going to go for four, from left or right or whatever. I don’t want any of that tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.

“I want the guys to hunt inside the ring like a pack, from the boundary lines, attack the ball, try and pick up that brilliant catch, brilliant run out. Tomorrow is the game where we can really afford to express ourselves because we put ourselves in that position.

"Having said that, be respectful of the situation in front of us. We won’t take things for granted because we know how hard we worked in Chennai. But, I want everyone to really have fun and really be the best and positive version of themselves and not worry about whether you are going to drop a catch, misfield the ball or get out or bowl a bad ball. Let’s not worry tomorrow, let’s just enjoy our cricket tomorrow. That will set us off on a really enjoyable roll even further in this tournament,” added the 32-year-old.

Padikkal, who fought through Covid ahead of the tournament, smashed an unbeaten 101 from just 52 deliveries, garnished with 11 boundaries and six sixes.

And batting consultant Sanjay Bangar said it was a special knock from the youngster.

“Absolutely special and the work that he had put in ever since he got Covid and the quarantine. He put in a lot of effort,” said Bangar.

“Obviously, first game he was a bit scratchy, second game straight away, he left an imprint on the game by having that partnership with Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) and today (Thursday), he took it to another level altogether. All the shots that he played were cricketing shots, went through the line beautifully and right from the word go.

"I mean, he played some amazing shots you do not really see a lot often from Devdutt wherein he played a couple of sweep shots, he played reverse sweep and then obviously the lofted drives were a treat to watch,” added the former Indian opener.

Meanwhile, Mike Hesson, director of cricket operation spoke in glowing terms of Padikkal’s intent.

“He has had a tough run, isn’t he, for a young player making his way. Today was just another breakthrough innings. We saw last year how good he was. Once again, he was one of those guys that turned up, little bit of grass on the wicket, and he was going to make it count and boy he made it count today and just hit the ball sweetly. But his intent from ball one was exceptional,” said Hesson.

Malolan Rangarajan, head of scouting and fielding coach was stoked for Padikkal.

“I’m so delighted for him. He has had a very good run-in, into the IPL with his form in the Vijay Hazare (Trophy) and Syed Mushtaq Ali (Trophy). He must have been devastated with what happened with the Covid and I’m absolutely stoked for him. He deserves it because the form, like I said, he brought into the IPL was amazing,” said Rangarajan.

Coach Simon Katich hoped it would be the first of many centuries for Padikkal.

“Bowlers, great job to keep them to what we did on that wicket tonight (Thursday) so, well done there. Secondly, we talk about partnerships, unbeaten, win by 10 wickets, well done openers. Brilliant. Dev, first IPL hundred, first of many, well done. Great intent. Skip, your 70 (72) not out, brilliant,” said Katich.

Katich also revealed that their bowling coach Adam Griffith had become a father.

“Last but not least, one of us here tonight (Thursday) enjoyed a day where he became a father. Great moment in his life. We kept it quiet because we didn’t want to distract you guys tonight (Thursday) from the job at hand tonight. Great job, legend,” he said.

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