Ruturaj Gaikwad on comparisons to MS Dhoni after dream run with CSK in IPL 2021: It’s really surprising

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635 runs and the Orange Cap for Ruturaj Gaikwad shouldn’t have come as a surprise but the manner in which the young Chennai Super Kings opener got them in IPL 2021 helped raise a few eyebrows. At 24, Ruturaj batted like someone who had played a handful of Test matches. He remained calm and composed in crunch situations and never let the opposition or the conditions faze him.

The knock 88 against Mumbai Indians when the rest of the batting unit failed told volumes of his mental ability. Ruturaj never looked back after that match-winning knock against Mumbai Indians in the UAE. He finished IPL 2021 as the youngest man to win the Orange Cap and forged a dominating combination with Faf du Plessis as the two CSK openers demolished opposition attacks.

All eyes were on Ruturaj when CSK took on Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 as the young opener had fallen to an Anrich Nortje bouncer a couple of days earlier. However, he shut out the noise and hit a match-winning 70, flaunting his big-match temperament once again.

When his senior teammates, Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa likened Ruturaj’s composure to that of MS Dhoni, it didn’t come as a surprise.

For Ruturaj though, it is a surprise. Speaking to indiatoday.in, the CSK star said he doesn’t want to believe his senior teammates Raina and Uthappa but stressed that he will look to continue doing what has brought him success so far.

“It’s really surprising (comparisons to Dhoni’s composure and calmness). I don’t believe them (laughs),” Ruturaj said.

“Obviously, they must have played a lot of cricket with MS Dhoni. They know Dhoni quite well, quite closely. It’s a good thing that they were able to get to know about my skill sets, staying calm and staying composed under pressure. It’s good to know.

“It’s important that I continue it because he has done it for 10-15 years. It’s just the start of my career. It’s important to accept it and acknowledge it and ensure I keep it going,” he added.

Outside noise stays outside: A sneak peek into MS Dhoni’s backing

Ruturaj Gaikwad said MS Dhoni never lets outside noise affect CSK players (Photo Courtesy: @ruutu.131 Instagram)

Ruturaj has been lucky to have had some of the best cricketing minds as his mentors in his nascent career. From childhood coaches at the Vengsarkar Academy to Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni, the Maharashtra batsman has had access to knowledge in abundance.

When speaking about his learnings from Dhoni, Ruturaj said the CSK captain is particular about making sure he doesn’t allow outside noise to get into his head.

Ruturaj had scores of 5, 5, and 10 in his first three knocks of IPL 2021 and the young batter said he was aware of what was being said from the outside but highlighted that the CSK team management backed him to the hilt

“I think it’s not about saying that ‘we are backing you’. I think it’s more about not letting things go into your head,” Ruturaj said.

“Even in the first three games, I had a decent run and there was noise on the outside whether I should play or not. But I think that was noise only from the outside. It never came inside. Neither Fleming nor Mahi bhai said anything to me.

“The management said I was just one knock away and that I was playing very well. They asked me not to worry about anything from outside. ‘The team is winning and we have that belief, there is nothing to worry about. Go there and enjoy your game’.”

Stay off social media: Dhoni’s tip to Ruturaj

Ruturaj also revealed that Dhoni came up to him and offered him an important tip on social media usage. The young batter said it was not difficult for him to follow Dhoni’s advice as he generally doesn’t spend too much time on social media.

“I think it’s going really well. He said to me that I can avoid it (using social media a lot).

“I said ‘I generally don’t like it much. Anyways, I don’t like it that much’. He said ‘that’s good for you’.

“I am not a social media person. I just want to post about my cricket and that about it.”

‘Getting the India cap helped my confidence’

Speaking of his dream run in the UAE leg of IPL 2021, Ruturaj said the training camp in the UAE along with the seniors in the side helped him get used to the conditions. He added that getting the India cap in Sri Lanka before the 2nd half of IPL 2021 made a difference to his body language and confidence.

“I think our preparation for the UAE leg was really good. In the India leg too, I was playing well, just got out 2 or 3 times. In a 14-match or a 16-match tournament, you will have your ups and downs.

“Coming to the UAE leg after going to Sri Lanka and getting my India cap, it boosted my confidence a little bit. Obviously, it helped my body language and helped my game.

“Getting to spend time with MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina at the camp before the UAE leg. I practice with them. That helped a lot,” he added.

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