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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: Meet the southpaw who holds the key to RCB's fortunes

Devdutt Padikkal, the breakout star of IPL 2020, is set to reprise his opener role in RCB's IPL 2021 campaign.

IPL 2021: Meet the southpaw who holds the key to RCBs fortunes

Devdutt Padikkal (Source: Royal Challengers Bangalore)


Rashi Bhattacharyya

Updated: 1 April 2021 3:09 PM GMT

Last year, the Indian Premier League took place behind closed doors in the UAE without the usual fanfare of teeming crowds in packed Indian stadiums. But that didn't stop the players and teams from churning out grand-stand performances and delivering nail-biting finishes.

Among the several new stars who rose to prominence in the desert sun of IPL 2020, RCB's Devdutt Padikkal emerged as the brightest one.

As the winner of the Emerging Player Award for IPL 2020, Padikkal scored a whopping 473 runs at an average of 31.53 and became the leading run-scorer for RCB.
Leading the run tally of a team that has the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is no easy feat, especially when it is your debut IPL season and you are just a 20-year-old rookie.
But Padikkal gracefully impressed one and all and riding on his performances, RCB reached the playoffs.

How did the young opener catch the eye of RCB?

Born on 7 July 2000, Padikkal started his cricketing journey at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC) in Bangalore at the tender age of 11.
In the next few years, he rose steadily through the ranks and was soon representing Karnataka in the under-16 and under-19 categories.
After his impressive 53-ball 72 run knock for Ballari Tuskers in the Karnataka Premier League in 2017, the cricket fraternity took note of the prodigious young lad.
Following his glorious debut Ranji season for Karnataka, RCB was compelled to draft him in the team during the auction for IPL 2019.
While he didn't feature in RCB's disastrous campaign that season, his performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy later that year almost ensured his place in RCB's future playing XIs.
Here, Padikkal emerged as the leading run-scorer of the tournament.
With an average of 67.66, he scored 609 runs in 11 matches, which included two centuries and five fifties. The accomplishment became more meaningful as this was his maiden 'List-A' season.
Undoubtedly, this display of pure talent secured his position in RCB's final squad for IPL 2020 and it's safe to say that he didn't disappoint.

Can Padikkal do an encore in IPL 2021?

He undoubtedly can.
Given his red-hot form in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, his credentials are well and truly in place and needless to say, the expectations from Padikkal have certainly skyrocketed.
By scoring 737 runs in the 2020-21 season, he surpassed Mayank Agarwal's previous record (723 runs). Although this mark was eclipsed by Mumbai's Prithvi Shaw, who subsequently became the tournament's leading run-scorer with 827 runs, Padikkal entered an elite club with his accomplishments.
By smashing 152, 126*, 145* and 101 in successive innings, he joined the likes of international stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Alviro Petersen.
He also became one of the three players to score four centuries in a Vijay Hazare Trophy season, apart from Virat Kohli (2008-09) and Shaw, who also achieved this feat alongside Padikkal this year (the 2020-21 season).
Since his spot in RCB's playing XI for IPL 2021 is all but confirmed, fans would be hoping for an encore from the southpaw in IPL 2021.
And who knows, Padikkal might just help RCB scale the summit and eventually bring home the coveted silverware that has eluded the franchise since the inception of the now biggest T20 league in the world.

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