RCB’s Devdutt Padikkal, who walked away with the “Emerging Player” award in IPL 2020, has revealed that the plethora of runs he scored in domestic cricket did a world of good to his confidence heading into the IPL. Padikkal further described himself as someone who loves to take responsibility.
With 473 runs to his name, 19-year-old Devdutt Padikkal took IPL 2020 by storm, turning out to be a standout batsman in an RCB side that boasted some of the greats of the game. In his campaign, which was also incidentally his first-ever in the IPL, the youngster struck five fifties, including a high score of 74, and was rightfully named as the competition’s “Emerging Player” for his incredible feat. However, for those who followed Padikkal’s journey prior to the IPL, his feats in the T20 extravaganza came as anything but a surprise as the southpaw had shown the same level of expertise in the domestic circuit back home.
Padikkal finished both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy as the highest run-getter, in the 2019/20 season, and remarkably accumulated close to 1,200 runs across the two limited-overs competitions. Speaking in the aftermath of his breakthrough season in the IPL, the youngster has now revealed that it was the runs he scored in domestic cricket which gave him a ton of confidence to be able to conquer the IPL without fear.
"The domestic season was a huge confidence-booster because whenever you have runs to your credit, it makes you more confident and relaxed,” Padikkal told TOI.
“That was important for me because through that, I knew I was capable of scoring big runs and being consistent. I just had to make sure I transferred the confidence, process and mindset from the domestic circuit to the IPL.”
Youngsters playing in their debut season generally tend to bat by throwing caution to the wind, knowing they have the license, but that wasn’t the case with Padikkal, who donned the weight of the RCB side in his shoulders and batted with responsibility, scoring a bulk of the runs. This was not something new for the 19-year-old, for he did the same with the star-studded Karnataka side last season, and Padikkal revealed that he is someone who likes to take responsibility and thrive in the presence of senior players.
"Within the Karnataka team, we have the likes of KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair. I knew they were bigger players (than me) but I had to make sure I took responsibility and performed. Even in the IPL, irrespective of who I was batting with, I had to make sure I took the responsibility of putting the team in a strong position. That said, it helps to have such players around. Their experience of handling every situation helped me throughout the season."
Playing in the IPL, in itself, was a special experience for Padikkal, but getting to bat alongside Indian skipper Virat Kohli made his time in the UAE surreal. Through the course of the season, the 19-year-old strung together many a valuable partnership with Kohli, who also always spoke highly of the 19-year-old. Padikkal revealed that it was an ‘amazing experience’ to be able to spend close to three months with an all-time-great like Kohli and wished to emulate the hunger and run-scoring thirst of the Indian skipper in the future.
"He is such a passionate and driven cricketer. For me to spend so much time with him was an amazing experience. I learnt a lot from him, both on and off the field - especially the way he handles himself, communicates his thoughts to others, leads by example and wants to be the best in whatever he does. These are things I picked up from him, and hopefully I can emulate him."