After a break of three years, the Karnataka State Cricket Association has returned with their T20 tournament which is set to begin in August, and will be played in Mysore and then Bengaluru. The tournament will feature six teams and will go on for three weeks, as the states most talented cricketers come together and battle it out for the Maharaja Trophy.
One of the most talked-about young cricketers from Karnataka in today’s day and age is the left-handed opening batter Devdutt Padikkal, whose performances in recent years have only led to high praise from all quarters. The stylish top-order batter was drafted into the Gulbarga Mystics side along with India colleague Manish Pandey.
Devdutt Padikkal, who began his IPL career with the Royal Challengers Bangalore before being signed on by the Rajasthan Royals, in the mega-auction this year, feels a tournament like the Maharaja Trophy is a great platform for a young cricketer.
“For me throughout my career, progress has been step by step and there hasn’t been any sudden big jumps. It started from U-14 and then up to the Ranji team, and it’s been a proper line of progress. The KPL too came at the right time for me as I felt I was ready to put myself out there and show what I am capable of. I was playing well at the time and to have the platform for any young cricketer, anywhere in India, is a great thing,” Padikkal said.
“Karnataka has a huge amount of talent and I have played with most of the players while growing up. And I have seen players coming from various parts of the state. So, they’re not any less talented than players in Bengaluru. They definitely need to be given the opportunity and I feel this tournament will provide that opportunity. To have them around will only improve the quality of the tournament.”
“As long as we are getting games and we are out there, that’s all that matters, at the end of the day, we are here to play.” When asked about how the stylish opener keeps himself fit during the tough cricketing calendar, Devdutt Padikkal explained that eating healthy and doing the correct thing during training is essential at all times.
“Fitness-wise you have to just make sure you are doing what you need to do and regularly. At times it’s easy to relax a bit when you’re playing all the time but it’s important that you continue to work on yourself and your fitness.”
“There is no diet plan as such but I make sure I eat properly and keep an eye on the food. But what I make sure I do is that I don’t miss my sessions, the more you miss sessions, you are missing out on progress, even if that is one percent.”
His performances in recent years have put Devdutt Padikkal in the spotlight and has him knocking on the door of the Indian team as well. He’s made two appearances in T20s for the Indian men’s team, but isn’t very bothered about the lack of more games.
“My mindset in terms of selection and getting picked to play for a team changed when I was playing in the U16s, and it never bothered me if I wasn’t picked. I was just trying to play the game and enjoy myself. You of course want to be there playing for India and even in the IPL, you want to do well always, but that’s not how things work obviously. As long as you are showing up and giving 100%, that’s all that matters because that’s the only thing in your control.”
Gulbarga Mystics Squad:
Mansur Ali Khan (Coach), Rajashekar Shanbal (Assistant Coach), Santosh V (Selector), Sachidananda (Video Analyst).
Players: Manish Pandey, Devdutt Padikkal, Karthik CA, Manoj Bhandage, Vidwath Kaverappa, Kruthik Krishna, Abhilash Shetty, Kushaal M Wadhwani, Pranav Bhatia, Shrijith KL (WK), Ritesh Bhatkal, Mohit BA, Rohan Patil, Dhanush Gowda, Mohammed Aqib Jawad, Shreesha Achar, Jeshwanth Acharya, Aaron Christie.