Ruturaj Gaikwad: A Star in the making
A pivotal shift in a cricketer’s rise to fame is when they perform well in the IPL but things have been a little different for Maharashtra’s 22-year-old sensation, Ruturaj Gaikwad.
After making his first-class debut at the age of 19, Gaikwad has never failed to impress. With an amazing average of over 56 in the 32 List-A matches that he has played, he has improved his skills and batting style, and is a perfect blend of a modern day batsmen with the temperament of an old school one.
While the youngster had a poor start to his domestic career, Gaikwad has bounced back like a seasoned campaigner. The young right handed opener already has five centuries and 10 half centuries to his name in his short List-A career.
What makes Gaikwad a class apart is the fact that he has the skill to build his innings and switch gears when necessary, making him a complete package at the top of the order for any team he goes on to represent.
Making his debut at the age of 20 for Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare trophy, Gaikwad was at his fluent best all throughout the tournament and made the opening position his own.
With 444 runs from just seven matches at a commendable average of 63.42 with three half-centuries and one century, Gaikwad has announced his arrival on the local circuits in style.
Earning a massive status as the third highest-run getter for Maharashtra from that edition of the Vijay Hazare trophy, Gaikwad was soon a player to watch out for from the successive edition of the coveted trophy.
However, his form slightly dipped as he scored just 330 runs from seven matches at an average of 47.14 and a strike rate of 102.80 but was soon in line to make his first appearance in the U-23 Asia Cup.
At the back of a century against the England Lions, Ruturaj Gaikwad was soon in the reckoning for a call-up to the junior national side. With some consistent shows in the India 'A' setup, Gaikwad was soon earned a contract with the Chennai Super Kings squad for IPL 2019.
Currently, in the on-going series against Sri Lanka A, the India A opener has performed extremely well. In the two games so far, Gaikwad scored a scintillating 187* of just 136 deliveries at strike rate of 138 with 26 fours and 2 sixes and 125* of just 94 deliveries at a strike rate of 133 with 14 fours and 4 sixes in the first and second game respectively.
With the Indian top order currently in safe hands of Dhawan and Sharma and ready backups like Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul and Shubhman Gill already knocking the doors for the two spots, Gaikwad’s call-up to the senior team seems to be a distant future.
However, the youngster is certain to reap the benefits of his consistent performances and could one day don the Indian jersey and open the batting for the senior national team.