Ruturaj Gaikwad started his IPL career with three single-digit scores in IPL 2020. Dhoni and CSK management persisted with him as their side had already been eliminated from the playoff race. The youngster, after being promoted to open, slammed three consecutive fifties to repay the management’s faith.
Ruturaj Gaikwad revealed that Dhoni had told him to not worry about his place in the eleven and play with freedom.
“After we were knocked out of the tournament, I again got an opportunity against Mumbai Indians as an opener. I couldn’t score much but Dhoni bhai gave me a pep talk. He told me that I “need not worry about my place in the side”. He said it was harsh on me and they (CSK management) know the talent I have and how I have been performing in domestic cricket. He asked me to enjoy playing for CSK,” Ruturaj Gaikwad told Times Of India.
Those words gave me confidence: Ruturaj Gaikwad
The Pune-born batsman carried on his superb form to domestic cricket and to IPL 2021, where he ended up as the leading run-scorer in CSK’s title-winning campaign.
The 24-year-old received his maiden India call-up for the Sri Lanka tour in July when he made his T20I debut. He has been included in India’s squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
That pep talk from MS Dhoni helped the youngster in many ways as he begins what could be a glorious career.
“Those words gave me confidence and showed me the faith my captain and my franchise had in me. It helped calm my nerves because I understood that Dhoni is backing me. So I began enjoying my time on the field and batted with freedom. It got the best out of me. Coming into this IPL, I had a lot of confidence in my abilities, although I didn’t think I would win the Orange Cap,” the right-hander added.
The three T20Is against New Zealand will be played in Jaipur (November 17), Ranchi (November 19) and Kolkata (November 21). India enters a new era under T20I captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid.