Devdutt Padikkal is all but confirmed to play against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday. Mike Hesson, Director Cricket Operations for Royal Challengers Bangalore, informed the news to the fans ahead of their clash against David Warner’s side in Chennai.
Devdutt Padikkal missed the season opener against Mumbai Indians, which Virat Kohli’s side won by 2 wickets on the last ball of the game. The left-hander tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22 and was in quarantine at his home. He linked up with the squad later but was rested from the first game.
In his absence, all-rounder Washington Sundar opened alongside Virat Kohli but struggled for timing in his 16-ball stay for 10 runs. Now, Devdutt Padikkal is nigh-certain to return to his opening position, one where he scored most runs for the side last year, in his debut IPL season.
It remains to be seen who he replaces – with plenty of bowling options at his disposal, Kohli may choose to retain Rajat Patidar and leave out Shahbaz Ahmed.
“Devdutt Padikkal has come back nicely, he would be fully fit so he would be considered for the game against the Sunrisers, and most likely he would play,” Mike Hesson said in a video posted on the franchise’s Twitter handle.
Hesson also informed that the overseas trio of Finn Allen, the replacement for Josh Philippe, along with Adam Zampa, and Kane Richardson will be out of quarantine soon as well.
“Finn Allen has come out of quarantine and looks in great touch. We would have Zampa and Richardson back heading into the next game as well, they will get out the day of the game,” he added.
Great to have runs behind me coming into IPL, I am confident: Devdutt Padikkal
The 20-year-old has been in supreme form since IPL 2020, his debut season, where he outscored even the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Devdutt Padikkal continued that form in domestic cricket as well tallying 218 runs in 6 innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and had a rec0rd-breaking Vijay Hazare Trophy season aggregating 737 runs at an average of 147. The southpaw wishes to bat in the same touch in the IPL 2021 as well.
“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,” Devdutt Padikkal said.
“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,” the Karnataka opener asserted.