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Was always confident about getting back to scoring runs: Padikkal on comeback from lean patch

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Chennai, Feb 9 (PTI) Karnataka batter Devdutt Padikkal on Friday expressed his delight after smashing his third century of the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, saying he was always confident of making a strong back after going through a lean patch in the last season.

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The 23-year-old, who had to make frequent visits to the hospitals due to an acute intestinal issue in 2022, failed to make an impact last season, managing only 260 runs in seven Ranji Trophy innings.

However, he has recovered pretty well this season, having slammed three hundred and is the state's highest run-scorer for the season, amassing 500-plus runs.

"I wasn't doing too well in last couple of years, resulting in a dip in my performance. But, I was always confident about getting back to scoring runs, and also in terms of my health and fitness. So, happy about it," he said on the sidelines of the match against Tamil Nadu.

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"It's always great to score runs. We understand that when you are not scoring runs, it's not a great place to be." Padikkal on Friday made an unbeaten 151 off 216 deliveries, laced with 12 fours and six sixes to guide Karnataka to 288 for 5 in a Group C match against Tamil Nadu on day 1.

He scored 193 and 103 against Punjab and Goa last month, before slamming 105 for India A against England Lions in Ahmedabad.

He is an opener but has been batting at number three this season.

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"It's (batting position) just the way our team was set up. I don't mind batting at number three or opening - doesn't make a huge difference. So, I'm just making sure that wherever I bat, I contribute to the side," Padikkal said.

"It's (attacking approach) natural. As you play more and more cricket and gain experience at this level, you will naturally be able to play more shots and be confident about your areas.

"I'm still young and learning, and over the years, I have tried to develop shots and evolve as a cricketer." "Mayank has recovered well" ================= One of the most watched-out guys for this match was Karnataka skipper Mayank Agarwal, who was making his comeback to the playing XI after missing the previous game against Railways.

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Agarwal was hospitalised after mistakenly consuming some liquid on-board a flight that caused burning sensation in his mouth and throat.

Mayank failed to make an impact in the first innings as he was dismissed for 20. He was not talking too much, indicating that he is yet to completely recover.

Padikkal, however, declared that he was doing well. "He's (Mayank's) doing well. He has recovered well and is back with us, which is great news for us." PTI AYG ATK ATK

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