Ruturaj Gaikwad fell cheaply in the first three matches he played in last year’s edition. However, he fought back commendably towards the latter half, and ended the season with three consecutive half-centuries - 65 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore, 72 against Kolkata Knight Riders and 62 not out against Punjab Kings.
Looking back at his performances last season, Ruturaj Gaikwad said that Dhoni asked him to enjoy his game and remain composed. The batsman was quoted as saying on CSK’s website:
"Dhoni told me to enjoy my cricket and not think about the result… just enjoy the atmosphere, be calm, and once I got my eye in, he was confident that I'd be able to make an impact.”
The 24-year-old, who had to battle Covid as well during the edition, admitted that the CSK skipper’s comforting words did a world of good for his confidence.
"I think it was a good reminder for me, because all I was looking for was the result and not thinking about the process. So it helped me a lot coming from him,” Ruturaj Gaikwad added.
What began as a horror run ended up being a memorable season for the Maharashtra cricketer. Even as CSK failed to enter the play-offs for the first time, Ruturaj Gaikwad finished the season with 206 runs in six games at an average of 51 and a strike rate of 120.71.
Learnt from Dhoni what matters is how honest you are to yourself: Ruturaj Gaikwad
Asked about the kind of pressure he is facing in the wake of his success in the last edition, Gaikwad replied that there was no pressure at all. He went on to explain:
"That's because of the environment I'm in where the focus is on the process and not the result. I just want to enjoy the process and make sure I contribute in every opportunity I get for CSK."
Ruturaj Gaikwad was with Dhoni during the pre-season camp in Chennai, which has since shifted base to Mumbai, where CSK will play their first five matches. On being asked what lessons he has picked up from ‘Thala’ of the franchise, the batsman replied:
"One of the important lessons I learnt from Dhoni is that there will be good and bad days in cricket, as in life, but what really matters is how honest you are to yourself, stay neutral in both situations and accept the fact that everyday won't be your day. But whenever it's your day, it's important to try and make it count.”
Chennai Super Kings will take on Delhi Capitals in their first match of IPL 2021 on April 10.