After finishing the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a staggering average of 147.4, high expectations were placed on Devdutt Padikkal leading up to the IPL. A bout of COVID-19 delayed his entry into the tournament.
Padikkal described being “really hurt” at missing the first outing, but the setback only increased his hunger to score big when the opportunity arrived. The 20-year-old did just that on Thursday, hitting a remarkable unbeaten 52-ball 101 to star in RCB’s 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Mumbai.
Even when Padikkal was on the verge of recording his maiden IPL century, he stayed focussed on helping the team win. So much so that in the 90s, Padikkal told opening partner and skipper Virat Kohli to finish the match himself. “What mattered most was getting the win as early as possible. I wasn’t thinking about my hundred. That’s why I asked Virat to go for it and win the game,” Padikkal said.
Kohli, however, was keen to see Padikkal reach his personal milestone. When Padikkal told him that he had many more centuries to come, Kohli replied, “You can tell me that after you get the first one.”
On recovering from COVID-19, Padikkal said, “All I could do was wait my turn. When I had COVID-19, all I wanted was to come here and play. When I missed the first match, it really hurt me. Coming out of COVID-19 was a real challenge.”