India Has A Bright Future In Terms Of Youngsters, Says Ex-UAE Captain Mohammad Tauqir
After a dream Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Devdut Padikkal has not only become the talking point among Indian fans, but many present and former non-Indian cricketers have acknowledged the 20-year-old player's brilliance with the bat.
On Monday, Padikkal displayed enormous confidence in striking the ball clean and hard during his 42-ball 56, a knock that laid the foundation of Bangalore's 10-run win over SunRisers Hyderabad.
While hailing him as the next 'big thing' in Indian cricket, former United Arab Emirates skipper Mohammad Tauqir reckons that with the likes of Padikkal, Shivam Mavi and Shubhman Gill performing well, cricket loving India has a bright future.
"It is good for Indian cricket and there have already been so many success stories in the past. Players like Mavi and Gill have performed well both in the domestic and under-19 level for India," said Tauqir, who captained the UAE in the 2015 World Cup.
"In this IPL, players like [Ravi] Bishnoi, Padikkal, and so many other youngsters have stepped up. So, India definitely has a bright future in terms of youngsters," the 48-year-old asserted.
Tauqir, however, expressed disappointment over the current edition of the lucrative league being played at empty stadiums due to Covid protocols. He felt that hosting of a showpiece event in the UAE was a success and fans have a chance to watch their favourite players live, at least on TV, after missing them for a long time due to the global pandemic.
"Due to the ongoing pandemic, the IPL was not possible in India where players are used to playing in front of massive crowds as most of the stadiums are packed with around 15,000-20,000 audience," he said.
"But in the UAE, it's being played behind closed doors this time. It is unfortunate to see that such a massive league is being playing in such a way, without fans. Of course, that's not a good, or an ideal, situation but conducting such a world class event in the UAE is a massive success and at least fans at home can watch their stars in action live," he added.
Tauqir may have featured in just 11 ODIs for his side. However, Tauqir has some great memories of playing the game, including picking the wicket of former India batsman VVS Laxman.
"It was an amazing experience to play against the greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, and others. I remember playing against India in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, in 2004. Moreover, I was very fortunate to slam a fifty against India," Tauqir said, recalling the Asia Cup.
"It was a team full of stars. Performing against the top Indian players and performing against them is an amazing feeling which I enjoyed very much and will cherish for the rest of my life," he said.
In his short ODI career, Tauqir managed to scalp just nine wickets. However, packing back one of the best cricketing minds - Laxman -- remains as his best on-field memory. "I took the wicket of Laxman in 2004 before bagging a few more against South Africa and Pakistan. But Laxman was my biggest wicket," the former UAE skipper stressed.
Tauqir led the UAE during their historic appearance at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. He made his international debut in 2004 and represented the country for 11 years.