DUBAI: Overseas stars including Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch praised young Indian talent in the IPL after batsman Devdutt Padikkal smashed a half-century for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 20-year-old left-handed opener proved his worth for Virat Kohli’s team with a 42-ball 56 that set up an opening Indian Premier League win for last year’s wooden spooners in Dubai on Monday.
Bangalore trumped Sunrisers Hyderabad, led by David Warner, and Padikkal’s confidence and flair did not go unnoticed by his opening partner Finch. “Dev is a brilliant young player,” Finch told reporters in a virtual press conference. “I think he has shown over the last couple of years in Under-19 cricket, domestic cricket, how talented he is and how destructive he can be at the top of the order, so I loved opening with him. “He is such an exciting young player. My advice is just play your natural game, if you are feeling it against a particular bowler keep going.”
South African veteran AB de Villiers also contributed with a 30-ball 51 for Bangalore, who are searching for their maiden IPL title. De Villiers too was impressed with Padikkal and the new crop of players who have made an early impression in the 53-day tournament. “Very competitive, the young players coming and looking like international players is really exciting to watch,” said de Villiers. “Padikkal is a shy and quiet guy but I don’t have to say much really, he looks like a really good talent.”
Warner’s team, winners of the 2016 IPL, have also fielded up-and-coming Indian talent in former U-19 skipper Priyam Garg and allrounder Abhishek Sharma. Garg attempted a horrific scoop shot on his IPL debut only for the ball to hit his helmet grill and land on the stumps as he was bowled for 12. But Warner advised the youngsters to carry on playing their natural game. “Exciting times for Indian cricket and I can’t wait to see what the young players produce,” Warner said after his team’s loss.
“There were three bizarre dismissals, but I encourage them to keep playing the way, not think too much about it. We will rely on our senior players to guide those guys in the middle. “Play your natural game and the that’s the only way you can learn.” Teenage leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi also had a good outing with Kings XI Punjab on Sunday when he returned impressive figures of 1-22 from his four overs. Kings XI lost the game to the Delhi Capitals in a super over but Bishnoi’s exploits with the ball earned him rich praise from pundits including former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar.- AFP