Ruturaj Gaikwad is a prominent player for Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings. Over the years, he has grown in stature as an opener for his side and scored tons of runs. Gaikwad’s superb run in IPL also helped him earn a place in the Indian team during the Sri Lanka tour last year and since, he has featured for India in nine T20Is. Gaikwad, 25, could not have asked for a better place to get groomed than CSK as it was under the supervision of MS Dhoni that he gained prominence and climbed sharply through the ranks.
In 2020, Gaikwad got to play only six matches for CSK, but the following year in 2021, burned up the charts. He finished with 635 runs and was the leading run-scorer, thus winning the Orange Cap. Reminiscing his first in the IPL under Dhoni while talking to students at the Super Kings Academy in Chennai, Gaikwad recalled what the CSK captain said to him ahead of his debut against the Rajasthan Royals.
“When I made my debut, he (MS Dhoni) was very clear. He said to enjoy the game. Representing this franchise is a huge achievement, a lot of great players have been part of this dressing room, and a lot of greats have been involved with this franchise. So, I think he just said that ‘You just need to be in that moment and enjoy it’,” he Gaikwad.
Gaikwad also shared how he had started off as a middle order batsman and got out for a golden duck on his debut. But the faith shown by the management along with Dhoni’s backing, eventually helped find his feet. Gaikwad was able to show his true class and played a vital role in CSK lifting their fourth IPL trophy.
“I really need to be thankful and grateful that I was in a really good team which has a very good environment. Also, having MS Dhoni around me helped a lot as well. In that process, I never felt that I was having a setback. If I look back now, yes, I had failures to start off with, but the management, the team and the coach made me feel (good). I would give a lot of credit to the whole CSK team, the captain and coach,” Gaikwad explained.