Talented batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad may not have got a game for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in his debut season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year, but he has already impressed one of the greatest of the game with his cricketing acumen. That man is none other than CSK captain MS Dhoni and Ruturaj’s pleasant stay with him during the tournament made it an enriching experience for him.
The 22-year-old cricketer from Pune recently gave an account of his interaction with Dhoni while speaking to ESPNCricinfo. It was during a game between CSK and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Chennai where Ruturaj had come up with an input for his skipper on how to stop an in-form Andre Russell. The Caribbean had thrashed five fours and three sixes during his half-century and all his shots were hit between the long-off and deep square leg.
After the innings got over, Ruturaj told Dhoni: “Mahi bhai, Andre Russell scoop aur paddle nahi karta. Short fine leg hataake deep square laga sakte the (Brother Mahi, Andre Russell doesn’t scoop or paddle hence you could have kept a deep square leg instead of a short fine leg),” Gaikwad had told Dhoni after the innings.
Ruturaj’s observation had impressed Dhoni and he told the youngster that he has a “sharp cricket mind”. MS Dhoni explained his plan saying the short fine leg was kept to catch in case Russell top-edged one. He also asked Ruturaj to remain as involved in the game.
Dhoni had once signed on the plaster of an injured Ruturaj during a Ranji match
MS Dhoni had spotted Ruturaj Gaikwad first in a Ranji Trophy match against Jharkhand. The Maharashtra batsman was hit by a bouncer and had a fractured finger. However, he overlooked the pain and continued to bat as asked by his captain Kedar Jadhav. The former India captain, who was present as Jharkhand’s mentor, came to meet Ruturaj during the lunch break and signed his bat and wrote on his plaster: “get well soon”.
Ruturaj recalled the incident to say that he wanted to impress Dhoni but the bouncer spoiled his plans. He wanted to come off but Jadhav wanted him to carry on. The 22-year-old eventually got out trying to hit as the pain became unbearable. It was after that Dhoni came to meet him and signed his bat and plaster.
Ruturaj asked Dhoni about the incident after he joined the CSK and the latter said he remembered it – the sign as well as his shot. He told that he is talented and asked him to keep scoring runs in domestic cricket. The CSK picked Ruturaj, who has played in 15 first-class, 42 List A and 17 T20 matches, at his base price of INR 20 lakh in the IPL auction last year.
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