New Delhi: Former India batsman Virender Sehwag heaped huge praise on young opener Devdutt Padikkal and claims he has the potential to replace Shikhar Dhawan when he retires. Padikkal has been a consistent performer with the bat for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2020 and 2021 editions. The southpaw was the highest run-getter for RCB last season and in 2021 he levelled up his game by smashing his maiden IPL century.

Padikkal made his India debut during the second T20I against Sri Lanka but he failed to make a major impact in the game and was dismissed for 29.

Sehwag claims that he wants Padikkal to score big in Sri Lanka as the former opener was very impressed with his batting during IPL.

“I really want to see him perform because the way he played a couple of innings, struck a century in the IPL, we saw some brilliant batting. When Shikhar Dhawan goes, he would be the right replacement for him. The only thing is that I want these Indian youngsters to first get opportunities in the sub-continent, because then when he goes to England, Australia or South Africa, there is confidence behind him,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.

Sehwag further said that Padikkal will have a golden opportunity to score big in Sri Lanka as the pitch doesn’t offer much swing or seam there and just needs to keep patience.

“If he performs, it will help his confidence and he can be a future star. He has that talent based on what I’ve seen in his batting. There’s no better thing than him getting an opportunity against Sri Lanka. The wickets will be flat, there will be no swing or seam. He just needs to keep a little bit of patience and needs to be careful with his shot selection. It shouldn’t be tough for him to score runs,” Sehwag pointed out.

Padikkal has a breakthrough Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 season as he slammed 737 runs in just 7 matches at a sublime average of 147.40.