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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Long battle with stomach illness made Devdutt Paddikal love the sport more than ever

On Friday, he made a classy 65, including 10 fours and a six. His play on the off-side oozed elegance associated with left-handers

PTI Dharamsala Published 08.03.24, 07:22 PM
India's batter Devdutt Padikkal plays a shot during the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England

India's batter Devdutt Padikkal plays a shot during the second day of the fifth Test cricket match between India and England PTI

Devdutt Padikkal's struggles with health over the past two years did not allow him to be at his best but he says that phase made him hungrier than ever, resulting in an unexpected Test cap in Dharamsala.

After making his India debut in 2021 during a T20 against Sri Lanka, Devdutt’s career graph did not go up as expected due to a COVID-19 infection and a stomach-related health complication. He overcame that challenge to pile a mountain of runs in domestic cricket and was the leading run-getter for Karnataka in the latest Ranji Trophy with 556 runs. A hundred against England Lions also helped him seal a maiden berth in India's Test squad.

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On Friday, he made a classy 65, including 10 fours and a six. His play on the off-side oozed elegance associated with left-handers.

"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.

The love for the game got stronger when he returned to full fitness and of late, Padikkal has also made technical changes.

"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.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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