Every day, I learn something new from Virat or AB: Devdutt Padikkal interview

The young Bengalurean is on a scoring spree for the Challengers and has made some significant knocks that have propelled RCB to three victories this season.
Devdutt Padikkal
Devdutt Padikkal
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He’s all of 20 and has already made three half centuries in the IPL. With solid form and a zealous drive, RCB’s opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal has set the field ablaze this season. The young Bengalurean is on a scoring spree for the Challengers and has made some significant knocks that have propelled the Royal Challengers Bangalore to three victories this season. 

In an exclusive interview with TNM, the batsman gets talking about playing for his home team in the IPL, captain Kohli and more. “It’s great to get a few wins under the belt at the start of the series. It makes it a lot easier later in the tournament and I hope we continue to win more games,” he says. 

The batsman made 63 against the Rajasthan Royals, 54 against Mumbai Indians, and 56 against Sun Risers Hyderabad. What was on his mind when he went out to bat – did he have any specific target in mind? “I just wanted to play the game. I wanted to make sure to contribute to the side and give a good start to the team to carry on from there,” answers Devdutt.

Having had a phenomenal domestic tournament with him being the top-scorer (609 runs) in The Vijay Hazare Trophy, there was always a lot of expectation from him at the start of the IPL. Did that add a lot of pressure on him? “I like the responsibility and I like to take it on – it’s something I enjoyed doing for Karnataka too. I knew a lot was expected of me during the IPL,” admits the left-handed batsman, who also helped Karnataka to victory in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. 

While Devdutt made his entry into RCB last year, it’s only this year that he’s getting to prove his batting prowess for the team. Now that he’s playing with big names of the game like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, he’s glad that he’s getting to learn a lot from them. “They’re so experienced. Every day, I can pick something new to learn from Virat or AB – on field, and off the field. I’m trying to learn as much as possible during the time I have with them and hopefully, I’ll keep improving,” he shares.

RCB’s new international entrants include Aaron Finch, Chris Morris and Adam Zampa - how has it been for Devdutt to play alongside them? “They bring a lot of experience to the sport and have played a lot of cricket and achieved so much in their careers. So, I’m picking up certain things from each and every individual in the squad – not just the international players. I’m learning things from the Indian players too,” says the batsman.  

With Kohli as captain, Devdutt’s getting to see the skipper’s ‘believe in yourself’ mantra. “He always emphasises on that motto. No matter what’s in front of you, the pressure you’re in or the situation you’re in, you have to continue to believe in yourself. As for AB de Villiers, I really admire his fearless brand of cricket and hope I can emulate that too,” he states.  

Ahead of the RCB-CSK game, which is often one of the most awaited matches of the IPL, what’s going on in his mind? “I don’t have much on my mind. I take it one game at a time. I’d rather focus on the ball than trying to think what’s ahead of me. So, I try to focus on each delivery and try to play the game naturally every time.”

As the conversation veers towards his home Bengaluru, Devdutt, who moved here when he was 11, reveals that he always dreamt of playing for his home team. “I’ve always been an RCB fan. It feels good that I was born to play for the team in front of the Chinnaswamy crowd. And now that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do so, I’m really grateful,” says the alumnus of St Joseph’s Boys School.

His favourite thing about the city is of course, the weather. “That’s what everyone likes about it. Also, everything is available at the tip of our fingers in Bengaluru and it’s great. My favourite hangouts are Truffles and Chinnaswamy stadium,” he smiles. 

With him going great guns in the tournament, his family can’t stop beaming and are very proud of their lad. “The first thing I did after the first game was to call them. I could hear how happy and proud they were – this is what you eventually play for – to make your parents and family proud,” he signs off. 

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