Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Mike Hesson has revealed that he asked Devdutt Padikkal to 'take the initiative' during the team’s second strategic timeout in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Wednesday.
Padikkal struggled for fluency during RCB's Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 encounter against SRH in Abu Dhabi. The left-hander scored 41 in 52 balls, scoring at a strike rate of under 80. He was also involved in the run-out of the well-set Glenn Maxwell (40 off 25), following a mix-up between the two.
Hesson admitted he asked Padikkal to lift his strike rate following Maxwell’s exit so there was less pressure on the new batter. The RCB opener, however, was dismissed going for a big shot in the 17th over and his side fell short by four runs in the chase.
Asked what exactly he told Padikkal during the second strategic timeout, Hesson revealed at the post-match conference:
“The fact that Maxi was going so well, it was a matter of playing second fiddle a little bit and rotating the strike. And he played that role really nicely. But as we saw, it got harder to score and harder to time. A few dot balls built up. The second timeout was round about the 15th over. It was more about, ‘Dev, you need to take the initiative here and take that pressure off the new batter.'"
The RCB coach added that Padikkal tried to open up but it just didn’t happen for him on the day. The 46-year-old conceded:
“He played a couple of good shots and then holed out. He wasn’t quite able to flick the switch when he wanted. But it was a tough surface and it was an important innings for us, for the other guys to play around. But yes, he wasn’t quite able to get us over the line."
“We gave Christian a bit of license to attack in the last couple of games” - RCB coach
RCB promoted all-rounder Dan Christian to No. 3 in the last two games. The move has proved to be a total flop as Christian was out on his first ball against Punjab and scored only 1 against SRH.
Explaining the experiment, Hesson stated that the franchise wanted to get some quick runs from him to ease the pressure on the other batters. Hesson said:
“We felt that the powerplay was probably the easiest time to score. So we gave Dan Christian a bit of a license in the last couple of games - just to go out, try and attack and get us ahead of the game. Obviously, it hasn’t worked on either occasion."
Hesson admitted that RCB will revisit the plan but claimed that, overall, they have a clear vision of what the team needs from each player. The RCB coach explained:
“Everything you do doesn’t come off. It’s something that we will look at. We are pretty clear about the roles that we want people to play. Maxi does a good job post the powerplay and AB owns the back half of the innings for us. That experience is critical and has helped us get over the line in a number of games."
RCB’s final league fixture will be against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Dubai on Friday, October 8.