Kolkata: 52, 97, 152, 126 not out, 145 not out.
How does the string of scores read for a batsman’s form? It belongs to Devdutt Padikkal, who has finished as the highest rungetter at the conclusion of group stage action in the Vijay Hazare Trophy Trophy 2021 on Monday. The rangy Karnataka opener, who was one of the revelations of last Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE to end up with the Most Emerging Player award, seemed to have continued from where he had left off in first class cricket in the 2019-20 season.
The rangy southpaw, whose grace and air of confidence as an opener for Royal Challengers Bangalore fetched him 473 runs in his debut IPL season, showed a consistency again which is certain to throw up his name for India’s white ball scheme of things sooner than later. Padikkal raked up 572 runs from five group league games with three centuries on the trot, the two unbeaten innings giving him an awesome average of 190.67 - making his state’s passage to the quarter finals a matter of formality.
The 50-overs Vijay Hazare Trophy, along the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, are the two first class events which will comprise the domestic season this time as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have scrapped the Ranji Trophy - the premier state level championship - in view of logistical problems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Indian cricket fan may have actually sat up to take note of the 20-year-old in IPL 2020, Padikkal laid it’s foundation by being the topscorer in both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2019-’20 season - helping Karnataka win both the trophies along the way.
In an interview with Gulf News soon after the IPL last year, the youngster had credited his senior state teammates in his development as a batsman. ‘‘I have learnt a lot from my senior teammates in the Karnataka side like KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair - we have got some very good batsmen in our state team,’’ said Padikkal, a Malayali whom his parents moved to Bengaluru when he was barely a 10-year-old in pursuit of his cricketing dreams.
Asked what were his long term goals, Padikkal had said last year: ‘‘Playing for India is the ultimate goal and I want to play in all three formats. In today’s scenario, one should be able to do that to cement his place in the Indian team and I plan to adapt and work on my game accordingly,’’ he said.
UP spinner stands out
Meanwhile, Shivam Sharma, an unhearalded spinner from Uttar Pradesh, finished as the highest wicket-taker in the league stages with 18 scalps to his name. He has the best figures of the tournament so far (7/31) and has conceded an average of just 4.53 runs per over.
The teams which have made the quarter finals of Vijay Hazare Trophy are as follows: Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Mumbai, Saurashtra (as group toppers), Uttar Pradesh (16 pts, +1.559 NRR) and Kerala (16 pts, +1.244 NRR) as the two best next teams while an Eliminator between Delhi versus Uttarakhand will decide who gets the last quarter finals spot.