Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opener Devdutt Padikkal has been the breakout star last two seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Breaking unto the scene in IPL 2020, Padikkal took the league by storm with his flamboyant hitting atop the order. He slammed 473 runs at an average of 31 to bag the Emerging Player of the Season award.
He has a rocky start to IPL 2021 as he contracted the COVID-19 virus and missed the opening games for his side. But once in RCB colors, there was no stopping him as he went on to slam a scintillating ton, his first in the format, in just his third game of the season. Although he looked rusty following the ton, he is carrying the confidence of the stunning domestic season he is coming off.
The Karnataka opener was unstoppable in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy as he slammed over 700 runs at an average of almost a hundred. In the process, Devdutt Padikkal became only the third player in the history of the competition to breach the 700 run mark for a season. With such numbers behind him and another successful IPL season in sight, Padikkal is now knocking on the doors of the Indian cricket team.
With a mega auction scheduled next season, it is unlikely that the Royal Challengers will retain Padikkal. But then again there is a negligible chance that RCB will let go of the prolific wicket-taker without using the Right to Match card given his performance in the last couple of seasons. If they do let the young batsman go next season by any chance, these are the 3 teams who would want to sign him.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) did not have a good first half of the season in 2021 at all and this was largely due to their below-par performances and struggling top-order. Although the likes of Nitish Rana got runs, he was very inconsistent as well as his low strike rate put the experienced middle-order under more pressure.
Head coach Brendon McCullum admitted that changes were necessary and in fact, he had stated that changes were coming just before the IPL was suspended. For next season, therefore, a solid opener is what KKR would be after and there won’t be much better choices for that than Devdutt Padikkal.
Having dropped David Warner from the side and head coach Trevor Bayliss hinting that the Aussie might not retrn to the side in near future, the Surisers Hyderbad will be on the look out for an opener. The fact that their strategy of promoting Manish Pandey up the order only led to weakening their already stuggling middle order, means they have no one to turn to their in their squad.
The likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Shrevats Goswami too have failed time and again in the past. Devdutt Padikkal brings in the firepower and is a like-for-like replacement for Warner. The improvement in his strike rate, from 124 in IPL 2020 2020 to 153 in IPL 2021, means that he will be the perfect player to match Jonny Bairstow‘s tempo in the middle.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) were plagued by a plethora of injuries this season as they were found struggling in the bottom half of the points table. Despite their inconsistency, RR did manage to secure three wins at the halfway stage of the season. Their overseas stars and the Indian pace attack were largely responsible for the same, along with captain Sanju Samson.
Although Jos Buttler came good in the final game before the IPL’s suspension, RR saw no huge opening stands in the first half of the season. RR first went for Manan Vohra as their opener who disappointed before they tried out young Yashasvi Jaiswal who looked promising. But RR would definitely want to boost their opening reserves and Devdutt Padikkal could be a smart signing. It will allow Jos Buttler to bat in the middle order along with the likes of Ben Stokes.