Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad has shed light on his conversation with MS Dhoni ahead of his debut for the franchise. The youngster struggled in his debut season with the Chennai-based franchise but managed to make a mark in the final set of matches.
In the subsequent season, Gaikwad played a pivotal role at the top of the order in CSK's fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) title triumph. He scored 635 runs in 16 matches to claim the IPL 2021 Orange Cap, leading to the franchise retaining him for ₹6 crore ahead of the mega auctions.
Recalling his interaction with MS Dhoni prior to making his IPL debut against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in 2020, Gaikwad said during a talk with students at the Super Kings Academy in Chennai:
"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."
Gaikwad was dismissed for a duck on his debut. Despite registering a duck in his maiden outing as an opener as well, the promotion eventually worked wonders for him.
Expressing his gratitude towards MS Dhoni for the faith he has shown in him over the last couple of seasons, Gaikwad added:
"I really need to be thankful and grateful that I was in a really good team which has a very good environment. Also, having M.S 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."
His exploits in the IPL helped him earn a call-up to the national side as well. Till date, he has represented India in eight T20I matches.
"It will not happen that every day you will score runs" - Ruturaj Gaikwad
The Maharashtra-born batter went through a rough patch at the start of the 2022 season after scoring only one run from the first three matches. He slowly got his rhythm back and ended the season with an average run-tally of 368 with a strike rate of 126.46.
Stating that the key is to remain positive when things do not go well, Gaikwad said:
"It is really important to stay positive and believe in yourself because you will have done a lot of hard work throughout and you will have failures in cricket. It will not happen that every day you will score runs. You will have failures. I think you really need to stay positive."
Gaikwad was in good touch while playing for India A against New Zealand A. He scored 108 and 94 in the first and second innings respectively in the third unofficial Test in Bengaluru.
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