Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal had a breakthrough Indian Premier League (IPL) season last year and the left-handed batter entered the ongoing edition of the tournament on the back of a successful domestic season.
Prior to the start of this edition of the IPL, Padikkal tested positive for Covid-19 and he missed RCB's opening game against Mumbai Indians. He made his way back into the side for the next two games against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) where he managed to score 36 runs. He would now be hoping to get into his groove.
In an interaction with ANI, Padikkal opened up on his goals in the ongoing season, his bond with stalwarts like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and he also spoke about why he idolises 2011 World Cup-winning hero Gautam Gambhir.
"I do not think so (on him playing the aggressive role since he is opening with Virat). He is such a talented cricketer, he has so much experience, to be playing with him makes my game easier. I am really looking forward to having a really good partnership with him. Definitely, Virat's passion for the game, the drive for the game he has is remarkable, that is something I have really tried to pick up on," said the 20-year-old.
The left-handed batsman had a good build-up to the IPL after he finished the Vijay Hazare Trophy as the second-highest run-getter. He finished with a tally of 737 runs.
"To be honest, I look at every game as an opportunity to make a mark and that's what I have continued to do since the past two seasons. That's why I believe consistency is the most important part of the game right now and that is what I am looking to do, be it the IPL or domestic tournaments. I am just looking to do well in every single game I play and eventually, the selection thing is not in my hands, hopefully someday I will get there," said Padikkal.
"We have a balanced RCB side this season and we have a lot of options in every department. It is great to have such a great combination and that knowledge and experience as well. We can see that there is a real togetherness about the team this season," he added.
When asked why he idolises Gambhir, Padikkal said: "He was a big-game player and it is one thing I really want to emulate because it is in those crunch situations that those big players come out and do well for the side. He always seemed to do that when the team was under pressure and that is something I would want to do."
Speaking about how he sees Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, the left-handed batsman said: "Maxwell is an amazing cricketer, like you have seen in the previous innings, the shots he plays can change the game on its head. To have such game-changers in the squad is really important. It is really great to see how he has started off the tournament and hopefully, he can continue to do this throughout the season.
"To be honest, I think AB de Villiers keeps things simple in terms of his batting. He does not overcomplicate the situation too much and the sheer skill he has to pull of the shots is remarkable. That is something I have tried asking him and he always says to keep things simple. He is a talented individual and it is great to play alongside him."
When asked about the challenges of the bubble life, Padikkal said: "It does get challenging to stay in bio-bubbles over a long period of time. But at the same time, that's the need of the hour and it is important that everyone stays safe. Staying in bio-bubble, you have to take care of your mental health, you have a lot of time with your teammates, the fact that we have such a team that is together and everyone is enjoying each other's company, that is something we look forward to every day."