IPL 2023: Ruturaj Gaikwad shows he is ready for CSK top job
By siliconindia | Friday, 26 May 2023, 12:22:24 PM IST
The crowd at the Chepauk desperately wanted MS Dhoni to say he would come back as a player next year. But Dhoni is a realist. He said that he will take eight months to decide, but it is almost certain that the legend has played his last game at the Chepauk. Dhoni, playing with an injured knee, was going through the rigours, because he wanted to make it a smooth transition for CSK. He wanted to have a player who can be the captain going forward, and in all probability, he has one in Ruturaj Gaikwad.
CSK, and more importantly Dhoni, had a big hand in the way the 26-year-old has flourished and become the player that he is today. While his quality and consistency are there to see, the Maharashtra player has the humility and level-headedness that we have come to associate with a CSK player.
After playing a match-winning innings and being named Man of the Match, Ruturaj was the first to admit that he was "scratching around for a while". "It takes a while to get used to the Chepauk wicket and I was scratching around initially. Somehow I figured it was my day and I looked to cash in on that," Ruturaj said, referring to his early dismissal, which was later overturned because of a no-ball.
Ruturaj made his IPL debut in the 2020 season and got a couple of ducks to start with in the middle-order. But Dhoni saw the potential in him and chose to use him as an opener. He flourished alongside Faf du Plessis in the 2021 season and kept the good work going even when it was disappointing 2022 for CSK.
Now, he is being considered as one of the senior players who is being groomed for the top job. But Ruturaj makes it clear that it isn't about the number of matches that makes him feel like a senior. "For me, seniority is about learning to take responsibility. It is never about the number of matches. It is about contributing in every single game, managing risk and taking the game forward," Ruturaj said.
Through the course of this IPL, time and time again, he has done that. He started off with three half-centuries and then there was a period when he was not getting the big runs. But the right-hander, who is an India aspirant, didn't try to curb his attacking game at any stage. "Devon Conway at the other end was staying beyond the first 10 overs. So I kept looking for the quick runs, because in this format, one of the openers has to keep going. It was the same with me and Faf," Ruturaj said. It all points to the fact that Ruturaj is a perfect team man and it's now on him to learn a few more tricks of the trade from Dhoni to keep the CSK flag flying in the days to come.