Karnataka's Devdutt Padikkal shows promise to go far

Over the last 12 months, Devdutt Padikkal has given sufficient evidence to be considered a batsman to be reckoned with across all three formats.

In the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, Devdutt Padikkal has accumulated 456 runs from eight matches (avg 76.00) including two centuries and three half-centuries.

In the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, Devdutt Padikkal has accumulated 456 runs from eight matches (avg 76.00) including two centuries and three half-centuries.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Over the last 12 months, Devdutt Padikkal has given sufficient evidence to be considered a batsman to be reckoned with across all three formats. In his debut Ranji Trophy season for Karnataka last year, he made three promising half-centuries in five matches.

In the recently concluded Karnataka Premier League T20, he was the top run-getter (310 from 8 matches at a strike-rate of 135.37) and in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy he has accumulated 456 runs from eight matches (avg 76.00) including two centuries and three half-centuries.

“I have grown a lot as a player since my Ranji debut,” said Padikkal after the win against Goa on Wednesday. “It has been an amazing journey. It has been a natural progression. I have not jumped age groups. I have played across all age groups and progressed well. I feel it’s time to step up further and reach the next level.”

Last season, Padikkal was blooded in as an 18-year-old as Karnataka, following five years of considerable success, sought to build a side for the future. Padikkal, to his credit, didn’t let the accompanying pressure of slotting into a champion side affect him.

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“Karnataka is such a prestigious state to play for and it is not easy. But I am enjoying the challenge. It is important to make your opportunities count. Someone is [always] waiting for you to flop or fail so that they can come into the side. This just drives and pushes me to do more.”

One area that he has worked tirelessly to improve is batting for long periods. “There were a lot of games where I was getting out in the 70s and 80s. I was throwing it away. Now when I get into a similar stage and feel I am drifting, I look to concentrate more. It is important not to get satisfied and relax after a 50.”

"I knew they [big scores] would come eventually, but I wanted to get them now because I am batting very well. I got those scores in the last two games [103 n.o. vs. Saurashtra & 102 n.o. vs. Goa] and now I know that I am capable of doing it in every innings.”

Sharing partnerships with the likes of skipper Manish Pandey and K.L. Rahul have taught him a lot, he stated. “Having their experience in the middle helps. If I look like throwing my wicket away, they tell me what to do. And I have been with Yere Goud sir (Karnataka coach) since the U-16 days. It’s a really friendly environment and I am enjoying it.”