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NEW DELHI: Devdutt Padikkal‘s health challenges in the past two years prevented him from performing at his peak, but he views that phase as a source of increased motivation. Surprisingly, this determination led to an unexpected Test cap for him in Dharamsala.
After his debut in a T20 against Sri Lanka in 2021, Devdutt faced setbacks in his career due to a COVID-19 infection and stomach-related health issues.
Despite these obstacles, he bounced back, accumulating a significant number of runs in domestic cricket. Finishing as Karnataka’s leading run-scorer in the latest Ranji Trophy with 556 runs and a century against England Lions earned him a spot in India’s Test squad.
On Friday, he showcased his skill with a stylish innings of 65, featuring 10 fours and a six. His elegant off-side play reflected the grace often associated with left-handed batsmen.
“I have always believed that discipline is key to success in anything that you do. Whether your practice or day to day habits or food. I have tried to be disciplined and that was my main goal.
“During sickness, I couldn’t do much but I still wanted to make sure I am not lagging behind in other areas and I continued to work on myself whether mentally or any other small thing,” Padikkal said after close of play.
Upon regaining full fitness, his passion for the game intensified, and recently, Padikkal has implemented technical adjustments to further enhance his performance.
“Technically I made a couple of small changes but mentally yes, I made the changes. I wanted to ensure that I enjoy the game a lot more because the last couple of years I couldn’t play that often and missing on games made me realise how much I missed the sport.”
An ankle injury to Rajat Patidar on the eve of the game led to Padikkal making his debut. The southpaw knew he could play the night before but was naturally nervous.
“Regardless of when you get to know, there is always going to be nervousness around. That was still there. I got a message saying the previous night saying that I could be playing.
“I was nervous, it was a tough night’s sleep but it is something you also enjoy at the same time. You live for those days,” said Padikkal.
Among his 10 fours, which one was his favourite?
“Every boundary is enjoyable but the first boundary, off the edge, was most enjoyable because those were my first runs in Test cricket (laughs).”
He also had fun while batting alongside Sarfaraz Khan who scored a brisk half-century on day two.
“It’s always fun to bat with Sarfaraz Khan. He is a great character to have around. It was just some light stuff and nothing too serious. We weren’t really discussing the game a lot, we just wanted to make sure we make each other comfortable at the ground.”
India have gained a massive 255-run lead in the fifth Test but Padikkal said the team is not looking at the possibility of a three-day Test.
“We haven’t discussed and aren’t looking so far ahead. We still have two wickets in hand, there is a good partnership going on. So hopefully we can continue to bat and keep getting those runs and lead bigger.”
India ended day two at 473 for eight after centuries from Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.
(With inputs from PTI)


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