‘He’s not easy to pick’: Devdutt Padikkal names bowler who challenged him the most in IPL 2020

Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Devdutt Padikkal caught the eye of one and all in IPL 2020.  The RCB opener justified his place amongst the big shots in RCB – finishing as his side’s top run-scorer with an impressive 473 runs to his name from 15 matches with five half-centuries.

Following such an impressive show, Padikkal was nicknamed as the ‘Emerging Player of the season’ with several former cricketers and fans vouching for his immediate entry into the national side.

However, the bowler which Padikkal found particularly tough to negotiate was SunRisers Hyderabad leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Padikkal said he found the Afghani leggie very difficult to pick.

“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,” said Padikkal in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.

It’s not a big surprise that he picked Rashid – who is the number 1 ranked bowler in T20I cricket at the moment. Rashid too, had a brilliant tournament, picking up 20 wickets from 16 games at an astounding economy rate of 5.37.

The left-handed opener, Padikkal, went up against several famed pace bowlers of the game – Kagiso Rabada, Jofra Archer, Jasprit Bumrah amongst the others. While several bowlers like Nortje and Archer repeatedly breached the 150 kph mark, Padikkal was unfazed by them.

The 20-year-old was asked about facing the searing pace of these bowlers but said that he is used to facing the quick balls as there are several pacy bowlers in domestic cricket.

“Pace, not really, because there are quite a few bowlers who are pretty quick in the domestic circuit as well.”

Padikkal’s runs came at an average of 31.54 with a strike-rate of 124.80 against the new ball. The fact that he outscored skipper Virat Kohli and the seasoned AB de Villiers is an ode to his sheer consistency.

RCB, who had lacked a stable opening pair in the past few seasons, finally found a dependable opening stalwart in the form of Padikkal, who provided several solid starts to the Virat Kohli-led side. RCB’s purchase of Padikkal for his base price of Rs 20 Lakhs is likely to go down as one of the biggest bargains in IPL history.

The young southpaw didn’t shy away from admitting that his next goal is to play for the country.

“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. I’ll continue to work on my game, continue to improve and, whenever I get the opportunity, I’ll take it with both hands.”

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Sagar Biswas

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