Ruturaj Gaikwad
Credit: Mr. Gaikwad's official Twitter handle @Ruutu1331

“Ruturaj Gaikwad is a wonderful kid, an absolute superstar. The way he mastered opening the batting and him and Faf scoring that many reasons, it’s one of the reasons we won the IPL. I couldn’t be happier for him. He shows maturity beyond his years,” CSK head coach Stephen Fleming said after the final on Friday at the Dubai International Stadium.

Not too long ago, this ‘wonderful kid and an absolute superstar’ was going through the roughest phase of his cricket career.

Hailing from Pune, Maharashtra, Ruturaj Gaikwad was signed by Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2019 auction for the base price of 20 lakh. After Suresh Raina withdrew his name due to personal reasons in 2020 he got to make his IPL debut.

However, his maiden IPL stint didn’t begin on a good note as he tested positive for COVID-19, shortly after arriving in the UAE with the Chennai Super Kings.

Having contracted the virus, the Pune lad missed the opening match of the season and a couple of days later, on IPL debut, he fell for a first-ball duck and in the next outing we saw his unfortunate run out for five off 10 balls. Notably, Gaikwad, who only batted in the top three of his T20 career was sent to bat at number five and number four, respectively, in these games.

It wouldn’t be wrong if we say that the 24-year old had seen the toughest time of his cricket career in September 2020. But as they say, tough times don’t last, tough people, do.

The Player, who was constantly being tested at a number 4 and number 5 was promoted at the top along with Faf du Plessis at the end of IPL 2020 season and it worked out well for Gaikwad as he ended IPL 2020 on the high as he became the first uncapped Indian to smash three consecutive half-centuries.

By that time, we can say Chennai Super Kings got their permanent opener in the form of Ruturaj Gaikwad.

And one year after, life took a beautiful turn for the 24-year old as he became the youngest Orange cap winner of IPL 2021 with 635 runs in 16 matches, just two more than his fellow opening partner Faf du Plessis.

And as CSK’s head coach said, Gaikwad was the main architect for CSK reaching the final. He surely is, after Faf du Plessis. The consistency he has shown with the bat is not something that everyone can expect from a 24-year old.

The Maharashtra lad, with a variety of valuable shots in his pocket, has once again proved his mettle to get where he is now. The remarkable aspect of his batting is that without going with the modern way of T20 batting, he has scored runs at a high pace even with his technical strong base, which tells you that when you have a technique you can achieve success in any format of the game.

Using the feet to the utmost efficiency, going forward then coming back using the depth of the crease, from late cut to sweep behind square, he has every bit of range to go unleash against the spin bowling.

Deft touches, down the ground shots with a straight bat, lofted chips, sweeps and reverse sweeps. What is it that this CSK opener doesn’t have in his bag?

Ruturaj Gaikwad – A Youngster Who Showed Enough Spark

After Gaikwad scored just 5 runs in the first couple of matches in the recently concluded season of IPL, MS Dhoni decided to give more shots to youngsters following his ‘not so cool’ remark,  where he said the youngsters in the CSK camp did not show enough spark which is why they did not get enough opportunities.

After being given a second chance, Ruturaj Gaikwad grabbed the opportunity with both hands and smashed four fifties and a ton in IPL 2021 to emerge as the highest run-scorer of the season. 

Here it is worth mentioning that Ruturaj Gaikwad is the only batter in the UAE leg to have struck a century – 101 not out against Rajasthan Royals. No other batter has achieved this feat in the second leg of the cash-rich league.

With his eye-catching performance throughout the season, the 24-year-old has surely boosted expectations for the future – both for CSK and the Indian national cricket team. 


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