Royal Challengers Bangalore youngster Devdutt Padikkal has attested that, after enduring an incredibly successful debut season in the IPL, his next target is to push to get selected for the national team. Padikkal was named as IPL 2020’s ‘Emerging Player’ for accumulating a staggering 473 runs.
After ending as the highest run-getter in both the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2019/20, Karnataka’s young Devdutt Padikkal made his presence known in the biggest stage in the country, the IPL. Representing RCB, the 20-year-old, in his debut season, accumulated a staggering 473 runs and ended the 2020 season as RCB’s highest run-getter, ahead of both Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Padikkal’s nonchalant style of batting - which, as many have noted, mirrors Yuvraj Singh - and his maturity beyond his age have made him stand apart, and has seen many earmark him as the next big thing in Indian cricket.
Now, on the back of a successful 18 months, the youngster has set his sights on cracking the highest level the sport has to offer - international cricket.
“Now the next step would be to play for the country. It's something everyone dreams of as a cricketer, so I'm looking forward to doing that soon,” Padikkal told ESPN Cricinfo.
“I'll continue to work on my game, continue to improve and, whenever I get the opportunity, I'll take it with both hands.”
Despite being just 20 years old, and despite enduring a near-perfect campaign, the Karnataka lad was not devoid of criticism, and was chastised by many for his inability to score quickly when he bats long, reflected by his season SR of 124.80. These outside noises, however, have not rattled Padikkal, who has stated that he is well aware of his shortcomings and is looking to constantly improve and evolve by the passing day.
“Definitely, sometimes you may not get the shots off the middle of your bat. That's (scoring quickly) part of the learning and hopefully I can continue to work on that and keep improving. It didn't really affect me too much because I knew that as I improve and learn, I can get better at that as well,” the 20-year-old said of his batting pace.
Accumulating runs in the domestic circuit filled with medium pacers is one thing, scoring tough runs in the IPL against express pacers is another altogether. However, Padikkal, interestingly, revealed that it was not pace which bamboozled him and it was, instead, the mystery spin of Rashid Khan which really tested and challenged his abilities.
“Pace, not really, because there are quite a few bowlers who are pretty quick in the domestic circuit as well. Probably the one bowler I felt was challenging was [legspinner] Rashid Khan, because he has really good pace and turns the ball at the same time. He's not easy to pick. I think while facing him I felt like, "Okay, this is something I'm not used to."