Aakash Chopra has been left disappointed with Rajasthan Royals (RR) batter Devdutt Padikkal’s performance in IPL 2022 so far. The former Indian opener opined that Padikkal is a high-quality player, but hasn’t lived up to his potential in the ongoing season.
Padikkal, 21, has scored 216 runs in 10 matches at an average of 21.60 and a strike rate of 123.43 in the ongoing IPL season. The left-hander has only managed one half-century thus far. Padikkal’s performance will be closely observed when Rajasthan take on the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, 7 May.
Analyzing the Rajasthan squad, Chopra said on his YouTube channel that the Royals cannot be heavily dependent on Jos Buttler to score runs in each game. Urging Padikkal to lift his performance, he stated:
“There are some issues with RR. They have Boss (Jos) Buttler but Devdutt Padikkal has to score runs. His bat has not done the talking for too long. It cannot go on like this. Given the kind of quality he possesses, he has not delivered to potential. There have been a couple of good knocks, but nothing apart from that.”
Padikkal won the 'Emerging Player of the Year' award in his debut IPL season last year. Representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), he scored 473 runs, including five half-centuries, in 15 matches. He also notched up his maiden IPL hundred, which incidentally came against his current franchise.
“Want Rassie van der Dussen to play instead of Karun Nair” - Chopra suggests a change in RR’s middle order
Sharing his views on Rajasthan’s middle order, Chopra said that skipper Sanju Samson does well when he leaves his ego in his pocket. He also batted for the inclusion of Rassie van der Dussen in the playing XI ahead of Karun Nair. The 44-year-old explained:
“I want Rassie van der Dussen to play instead of Karun Nair. They are playing with three overseas players, so Rassie can come in. When Samson doesn’t bat with ego, he bats very well.”
Chopra also urged the franchise to send ‘finisher’ Shimron Hetmyer up the order so that he can face more deliveries. Left-hander Hetmyer has clubbed 260 runs in 10 matches for RR at an average of 65 and a strike rate of 163.52.
“Shimron Hetmyer should bat up the order. Why are you sending him for only 15 balls? He is a much better batter than that and will do well if he bats higher in the order. Hetmyer, Tim David (MI) and Rovman Powell (DC) can all come up the order. They are called finishers, but they can bat longer.”
RR are currently third in the standings with 12 points from 10 games, four spots and two points ahead of PBKS.