RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal, who had a great debut season, singled out his contest against world's no.1 Test bowler Pat Cummins as the most enjoyable one of the season. He also added he knew he had to make an instant impact in the IPL as it's a tough tourney to master if you don't start well.
Not many would have imagined Devdutt Padikkal to outscore the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, that too in his debut season for RCB. The 20-year-old made 473 runs with five fifties and ended up as the best RCB batsman in terms of runs and eight highest-run-getter in the season. It was also a record season for a debutant Indian batter featuring in his first season of the cash-rich league. He did the bulk of scoring for RCB at the top whilst playing some elegant strokes and reminding people of Yuvraj Singh, with some of his delightful strokes that were a sheer delight to the eyes.
One of the highlights of the season of his batting was how he handled world class bowlers. His contest with Australia's premier fast bowler and world's no.1 Test bowler Pat Cummins in Sharjah was some sight. The left-hander had shown no signs of fear as he danced down the track to hit him for boundaries over the off-side region to be only tested by a barrage of bouncers later by the quick that Padikkal negotiated well.
The youngster asserted that he really enjoyed his contest with Cummins as he was looking forward to facing top-notch bowlers like him before every game.
"The contest against Cummins is something I enjoyed the most. Facing that kind of bowler was what I was looking forward to before every game. I wanted to ensure I didn't get bogged down by the name in front of me and stick to what I was doing. In fact, the bigger the bowler, the more excited I was to play against them. In terms of [him bowling] around the wicket, the natural angle is not there with the ball going away. That was a really good competition that we had within the game," Devdutt Padikkal told Cricbuzz.
One of the impressive things about him was the way he handled bouncers and he stated that he very well knew that like other young players, he was also going to get tested with the short stuff.
"Because I'm a young player playing in my first season, I knew that generally the fast bowlers would come and bowl short to me early on. I remember, in the first Mumbai game, I knew [Jasprit] Bumrah would come on and he would bowl a bouncer to me at some point in the first over. He did bowl that bouncer [off the third ball] and I was able to get that four with the pull."
IPL can be a tough tournament to bounce back if you put your wrong foot forward and the 20-year-old was well aware of that as he wanted to start with a bang, rather than playing the catch-up game.
"I knew that whenever I get a chance, I've to make an instant impact because the IPL is not easy. If you do not make the impact early on, it gets harder for you," he said.