The year 2020 is going to be remembered by everyone around the world for a variety of reasons. However, if you want a good reason to remember the year and you are a cricket fan then remember the name Devdutt Padikkal.
The young Indian batsmen has had a breakthrough year, and not only that but it was his first in the IPL. Those close to him in India will already know the name, but many on the world stage have seen his play and will now be following his career.
Who is Devdutt Padikkal?
Padikkal is a 20 year old batsmen who currently plays first class and list A cricket for Karnataka. He was selected to play in the Karnataka Premier League, a low level T20 league in India back in 2017 by the Bellary Tuskers. It is playing for them, and playing for Karnataka in the Indian domestic leagues where some people will have picked up on his ability.
In 2019, Padikkal was selected by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL player draft, and he would then go on to play for them in the 2020 competition. The draft signalled two things for Padikkal, and was the start of his emergence, not just in India, but also elsewhere.
The first was his big league move, now playing in the IPL, people would be able to watch him grow as a player, he was a youngster being given a chance. The second was that the move put him inside the dressing room of Virat Kohli, a legend of Indian cricket. There is no better mentor out there for Padikkal than Kohli, and hopefully he learns something from the experience.
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- Sourav Ganguly thanks players for commitment to 2020 IPL success
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- IPL 2020 final: Mumbai Indians humble Delhi Capitals by 5 wickets to lift fifth title
In terms of scoring so far, Padikkal currently averages just over 34 in Indian first class cricket, though when you look at his averages, this is the weakest part of his game. In list A cricket, his average shoots up to 59, with a best score of 103 not out. He averages 43 in T20 cricket and has an even better high score here of 122 not out.
IPL 2020 Achievements
Anyone who has been watching or even betting on the IPL this season will have noticed Padikkal. Those using bookie offers on the IPL will have been happy if they had backed his team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who made it through to the knockout round.
In his first season, Padikkal played all 15 IPL games for Bangalore, and he ended with a total of 473 runs at an average of 31.53. His average is very strong, and with a strike rate of 124 he also scored at more than a run a ball which is great to see for a youngster.
However, it is the total runs scored that really catches the eye, especially when you compare it to other players in this team. Padikkal ended as the top scorer for his team, leading the way on a squad that included Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers amongst others, two very experienced cricketers who have been playing T20 cricket around the globe for years.
On top of all this, Padikkal set a record in the IPL for his performances. He was the first player to ever score three 50s in his first four games in the competition, immediately setting the tournament on fire and grabbing the attention of everyone who was watching.
It was a hugely impressive debut season, and the chances are that we have more to come in the future.
Assuming the Challengers keep hold of him for many years, they will be hoping to emulate the recent success of Mumbai in the IPL and win trophies of their own.
At just 20, he hasn’t stopped growing and that will only help him in the short format of the game, hopefully giving him a little more power. The prospect of even more to come from this player is incredible, and that is why there is so much hype surrounding him at the moment.
Looking ahead, next year will be all about showing that his performances in 2020 were no fluke, and that he can produce that level year in year out. Then he has to get better, by aiming for 500+ runs and then eventually 600+ runs.
Assuming he stays on course, an India call up will likely appear soon, allowing him to experience international T20 cricket around the world, putting him out of his comfort zone.
Whatever happens over the next year or so, Devdutt Padikkal is set to be a high quality cricketer and right now, the sky really is the limit for this young man.