Padikkal reveals how ‘words’ from coach Dravid ‘helped’ him score debut Test fifty against England

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Public TV English
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DHARAMSALA : Winning wholesome praise from pundits and fans after coming up with a polished hand in his debut inning in the ongoing fifth Test against England, Devdutt Padikkal on Friday revealed the golden word of advice he received from head coach Rahul Dravid after he received his India cap from veteran Ravi Ashwin on Day 1.

The elegant southpaw, who managed to translate his form for Karnataka this Ranji season into runs in his debut Test, said the words of encouragement he received from coach Dravid after earning his India Test cap helped him to construct a neat and nerveless debut fifty on Day 2 of the Dharamshala Test.

Making an impression with his composed demeanour, combined with the lazy elegance of a southpaw, Padikkal stroked a fine 65 off 103 deliveries, an innings studded with 10 four and a six.

Showing no nerves on the crease and growing in confidence with every single he ran and every boundary he stroked, Padikkal raised a 97-run stand with Sarfaraz Khan, steadying the hosts after skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubhman Gill fell in quick succession in the post-Lunch session.

Revealing how Dravid words helped him fight off nerves and play with freedom in his debut Test, Padikkal, in a pitchside interview after the end of the day’s play at the HPCA stadium on Day 2, said, “Rahul Sir mentioned: ‘in the first 10-15 minutes you will have nerves, but go out and enjoy it’. Those words definitely helped me. I felt we could have batted a bit better, could have carried on a bit better in the last session.”

During his stay at the crease, the lanky Karnataka batter creamed some pleasing boundaries in between some lucky edges, settling nerves in the dressing room after the fall of two quick wickets.

“I just wanted to be ready (talking about the debut blues), I got the message the previous day that there is a possibility that I could play. These opportunities are rare to come and I was ready and prepared for this challenge. I was a bit nervous going in, but I wanted to make sure that I wanted to use that energy in a positive way. It was a bit challenging at the beginning (when I walked out to bat), but I wanted to put my head down and build a partnership with Sarfaraz,” Padikkal added.

“At the start, I was a bit tentative (while batting) to get going, but once I got my eye in it got much easier. There was a bit of reverse and those are two (Anderson and Stokes) top-quality bowlers you are facing. It was challenging, but I wanted to get used to the wicket. It was challenging the last couple of years, because of my health issues (had problems with his gut health) which are well-documented, so when you are sitting at home and not doing anything, it surely wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but I wanted to make the most of the opportunity whenever it comes. It’s always great to have familiar faces (while on debut), especially,” the debutant said.

On receiving his Test cap from a teammate, who has been a veteran of many battles and is playing his 100th Test at Dharamshala, Padikkal said, “It’s a special feeling (getting his debut Test cap) no matter what the circumstances, to live in that dream is something special.”

After ruling the roost in the first two sessions of play on Day 2, the hosts ceded ground in the session after Tea as it suffered a late-order collapse to be reduced to 428/8.

After skipper Rohit and Shubhman bossed the visitors in the opening session and after Lunch, both bringing up fine centuries in the process, England made a comeback of sorts largely on the back of a four-wicket haul by Somerset off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, who found appreciable purchase from the surface in the last session.

However, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah steadied the ship thereafter for the hosts, as they put up an unbeaten 45-run stand to ensure India didn’t lose any further wickets by the close of play. (ANI)

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