Teen Padikkal finds the consistency

Karnataka teenager Devdutt Padikal has amassed 456 runs from eight games in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, giving a strong poof of his talent. DH PHOTO/ SRIKANTA SHARMA R

For someone who was troubled by self-doubt and lack of chances, it appears like Devdutt Padikkal has finally made a strong case for himself to be a regular in the Karnataka senior side, at least in the limited-overs format.

In the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, Padikkal’s consistency has helped him to be the second highest run-getter for Karnataka.

“It’s important to use your opportunities. I wanted to make sure I don't throw them away,” began Padikkal, who has accumulated 456 runs from eight games at an average of 76.00.

“It’s not easy to stay in the Karnataka side. There are so many good players knocking on the door. This drives you to give your best. But I don’t put pressure on myself. I just try to enjoy the challenge,” the left-handed opener offered.  

This season, Karnataka’s batting has heavily relied on the top-order. Captain Manish Pandey tops the team’s chart with 505 runs from eight games at an average of 101.00. KL Rahul (368 runs from eight matches) has been reasonably good. Padikkal’s form gains more significance when you look at the below-par show from the middle and lower-middle order.

After the top-three, none of the batsmen in the current squad have a fifty under their belt. Courtesy their immense experience, it is expected of Pandey and Rahul to lead the charge. With his good run, Padikkal has held the Karnataka batting together by being the perfect foil to the senior duo. The 19-year-old has curbed his natural attacking instinct early on and put a price on his wicket. This was evident in Karnataka’s only defeat in the group-stage against Hyderabad where Padikkal slammed a fighting 60 even as others fell for callous shots.   

“Playing with Manish and Rahul is a learning experience because they know how to build an innings. They have told me what shots to play against various bowlers and how to construct an innings on different types of pitches. In the first ten overs, I want to take time because the bowlers bowl in good areas. During that period, I keep it simple because I know I can make up for it once I am set,” explained Padikkal, who made his Ranji Trophy debut last season.

The lanky lad has worked on his problem of conversion and his two successive centuries couldn’t have come at a better time for Karnataka. “It (squandering starts) dents your confidence. I was getting out in 70s and 80s due to silly mistakes. I started concentrating more and told myself that I shouldn’t get satisfied once I reach fifty. I knew the big knocks were around the corner but I wanted it come now,” he said. 

 

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