Devdutt Padikkal is a part of RCB for a long time now. He was an understudy. And when there was a discussion about carrying him for 2020 season, it was the words of Virat Kohli that gave Padikal another chance in the team. Kohli was right.
Well, this decision came months before he carved his own identity in the team full of talents.
It’s Karnataka. Rahul. Agarwal. Nair. Pandey and the list keep going. Among all these heavyweights, Padikkal was thrown around the batting order. Sometimes, at six, sometimes, he kept waiting. Of course, nobody can believe a rookie teenager when the team has national representatives, right?
Padikkal took his time initially even to go near the door the Karnataka selectors. He had falls after fall and the former Under-19 representative understood what he was missing- the calmness.
Now, he has two idols. One is Gautham Gambhir and other is Roger Federer. Taking the leaf from their book, Padikal found the way. He did not knock the doors of the selectors, but he broke them. It took him just a year. On the job, he had one of the best players to learn from- Pandey.
Karnataka was taking on Haryana in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Rahul and Padikal began the chase of 199. They were supposed to win it easily, but the pitch had its say. It supported the bowlers more. Padikkal was on one end, and he then had Pandey scoring 48 at the other end. After his dismissal, wickets begin to fall at the regular interval. Padikkal was the closest spectator. He was standing at the other end for more than 100 deliveries and was waiting for the right opportunity to score a boundary.
The bowlers were too good that he didn’t have an opportunity, and so he wanted to create one. He played a nothing shot and fell for 60 runs. He was the 8th wicket to fall, and the team lost the match by 21 runs.
Padikal was upset. He knew that the team had faith in him, the captain took a gamble to promote him up the order in the season. He should have won it for the team. He was supposed to do that job. Pandey, who was the captain for Karnataka at that time, talked him through.
Right after that match, there was a terrific turnaround in his approach. He ended up as the leading run-scorer of the tournament and helped his team to lift the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He then followed it up by topping the runs chart in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well.
Tell him that he had a great season by topping the run charts of two domestic tournaments, he would say that he should have done well in the Ranji Trophy. Nobody can satisfy his hunger. He wants to score, he wants to win every single battle.
It was the match against Himachal Pradesh. A few of his teammates got to good score in the first innings. It was his turn in the second. Batting at number 3, Padikkal slowly began to steal runs from the opponent. He took 200 deliveries to reach 99. He was about to get his first hundred. Nervousness took over.
Padikkal- lbw b Arora- 99(201).
If it was someone else, they would have got it through easily, but for Padikkal, it killed him. He cried. Shed tears even while walking back. It was hurtful. It took him days to come out of the horror.
Now, scoring runs is one thing. Padikkal’s special ability is that he loves to learn. Like every day. Like from everyone. He listens to his seniors and asks them doubts about their procedures and everything. This impressed Kohli. This attitude impressed RCB. Thus, they wanted him to stay. Lesser did anyone knew that he will come into this tournament with this type of form.
Talking about his batting, Padikkal has a long stretch and makes use of his height very well. His height comes in handy for powerful shots and also for running, of course. Padikkal doesn’t put much weight on his legs but prefers to move freely around. Freedom gives him a good opportunity to score runs, especially against spinners.
20 years of age now, Padikkal will not sleep until he eats as many runs as possible to keep his run-hunger in check. I don’t want to jinx it but.. You… Know…