Devdutt Padikkal has been one of the best young batsmen in IPL this season and former Indian pacer Venkatesh Prasad has claimed that some of his shots remind him of Yuvraj Singh. He said that the fact he is a left-hander struck him first and then also how good he has been in the field.
Left-handers ooze a different level of class and elegance. Young Karnataka batsman, Devdutt Padikkal, who is playing his first IPL this season, has made everyone take notice of him with his consistency but more than anything the strokeplay that has drawn him some big comparisons. His ability to dance down the track and play over the off-side has made people compare him to a certain Sourav Ganguly and Gautam Gambhir while his wristy flicks and pull shots have reminded many of Yuvraj Singh. Perhaps, he has modelled his batting on these three given the lack of quality left-handers in Indian cricket over the years.
Former Indian fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad, as chairman of the Under-19 National Selection Committee, was one of the first few people to observe the talent of Padikkal from close quarters, who has scored 422 runs from 13 matches, becoming only the second uncapped Indian player to score 400 runs or more in his first season of the IPL. He stated that being a good left-hander impresses people faster as there haven't been many great southpaws from India.
“The first thing that struck me about him was that he was a left-handed batsman, which is a rare thing in India. It’s been there for a long time, but we’ve not seen very good left-hand batsmen. Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh were two of them, but otherwise, we haven’t seen too many great left-handed batsmen. With Padikkal being a left-hander, people will show keenness. Secondly, I was highly impressed with his fielding. Like I said, fielding is all about fitness and the moment,” Prasad told Hindustan Times.
Prasad also asserted that a few of Padikkal's shots remind of him of Yuvraj Singh especially the pull shots that he plays with a lot of authority. He also praised Padikkal's confidence with the bat in hand.
“Virender Sehwag is a great example where it was just his bat speed – like Devdutt Padikkal – and hand-eye coordination. And Sehwag was one of the highest scorers, who got two triple hundreds. A few of Padikkal’s shots were a lot like Yuvraj Singh in his 20s. Like the pull shot he plays or when he comes down the track, or when he goes after the fast bowlers. That shows a lot of confidence,” he said.
However, Prasad also cautioned that this is just the first step as many tests still await the 20-year-old Karnataka and RCB batsman. But, he reckons if Padikkal does his processes right, works on his fitness, he has got a long road ahead.
“This is just the first step I would say because the true test of a player is in playing the big matches, in a pressure-filled environment. He has really handled the pressure in IPL well. It is watched world-wide, its fan base and product is huge and he’s caught everyone’s eye.
“There’s a long career ahead. One thing is for sure that if he focuses on the process, he works on his fitness, he will go a long way. And being a left-hander, it’s going to be a huge advantage. He needs to keep his heads on his shoulder and not get carried away. If he’s disciplined, I’m sure there are greater things awaiting him, more than what he’s already done.”