'It was really great to have the runs behind me, so coming into IPL, I know that I am confident.'
The COVID-19 setback firmly behind him, Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Devdutt Padikkal says he is now ready to fire with the bat in IPL 2021 and feels confident of replicating his stupendous domestic form in the T20 league.
Padikkal contracted the COVID-19 virus on March 22 and was in isolation, but has since completely recovered and resumed practice with his RCB teammates.
"COVID was a setback. I wish that it didn't happen but that's something I couldn't control...I had to accept the way it was and just make sure that I kept myself fit so that when I comeback I can be ready for the game," he said in a video posted on RCB's Twitter handle.
"Right now I am completely fine, most importantly I am able to move around well, I am able to react to balls and that's the most important part...in IPL you always have to be ready, you always have to be 100 per cent in every situation. Unless you are 100 per cent, you can't really push yourself."
The 20-year-old Karnataka left-hander was RCB's highest run-getter in IPL 2020 with 473 runs from 15 matches, including five half-centuries in what was his debut season.
Padikkal continued rich form in the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (218 runs at an average of 43.60 in six matches) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (737 runs in seven matches).
"Last IPL was amazing for me. It was such a great experience and exposure for me, the opportunities I got and the fact that I was able to contribute to the side is all that matters in the end.
"Mushtaq Ali was decent, not up to what I was expecting and in Vijay Hazare I was just looking to get back into my rhythm and focus on what I am doing and really improve my game every time I went out to bat.
"It was really great to have the runs behind me, so coming into IPL, I know that I am confident," Padikkal said.
Having missed RCB's two-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in this year's IPL opener, Padikkal is expected to feature in his side's second game against Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on April 18.
And the young batsman can't wait to open along side skipper Virat Kohli when the opportunity comes.
"Definitely, it's something new...I am definitely looking forward to that," he said.
Besides Kohli, the RCB batting line-up also features experienced campaigners like AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell. Padikkal said he can't wait to pick their brains.
"...batting with them (seniors) just takes pressure of you. They are so good at what they do and they just make your job easier, know exactly what to do in every situation. So, it's important that I just make sure I am learning as much as possible," he said.
With India witnessing an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, the ongoing IPL is being held behind closed doors.
Padikkal hopes that the situation would improve for the fans to come back to the grounds.
"It's definitely better with the fans because the energy they bring to the ground is something unimaginable. It would have been better with the fans in the ground and hopefully sooner than later it will happen."