Royal Challengers Bangalore head coach Simon Katich has revealed how skipper Virat Kohli mentored young opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal in the previous season of the league. Padikkal was playing his maiden season in IPL 2020 and the RCB think tank asked Kohli to take Padikkal under his wing. Kohli is known to get the best out of the young players and he did a fine job in guiding the youngster on the right track.

Padikkal went on to top-score for RCB in the previous season as he amassed 473 runs in 15 matches at an average of 31.53 and a strike rate of 124.80. Thus, the left-hander played a key role in taking the team to the playoff stages.

“Given his experience and the esteem he is held in in Indian cricket, last season we asked Virat to mentor Devdutt. Devdutt was a kid playing his first IPL, which is a long, physically and mentally draining tournament. We saw times when he started really well but there were times when teams started to work him out with their tactics,” the RCB head coach said.

Meanwhile, Katich noticed that Padikkal used to play a rash shot after getting to the 20-30 run-mark as he would get exhausted and Kohli asked him to work on his fitness.

“There were also times when he (Devdutt Padikkal) started to physically tire, particularly in an innings where we would get to the 20 or 30-ball mark. He could get fatigued, make a mistake and get out. Virat urged him to work on his fitness when the tournament was over, knowing the standard of IPL is a level above domestic cricket. He’s a great young kid and Virat also talked a lot of tactics with him, how teams were going to bowl at him and how to counter that,” Katich said.

“A lot of credit goes to Padikkal, who worked on his game in the nets, but Virat was able to guide him on what to do next. He was prepared to give up his time and knowledge,” Katich added.

Padikkal scored 737 runs in the Vijay Hazare trophy 2021 for Karnataka and batted at the top of his game. The southpaw has had a good start to this season as he scored a fine century against RR after recovering from Covid-19. Padikkal completed his hundred in just 51 balls and thus scored the fastest century by an uncapped batsman in IPL history.