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Ruturaj Gaikwad: Chennai’s New Super King

What do you do when you start living your dream and it turns into a nightmare? Team Chennai had pinpointed Ruturaj Gaikwad as the ideal replacement for Suresh Raina when the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League began in the UAE. But the Covid-19 virus kept him in isolation for a vast stretch at the beginning of the season, as Chennai stumbled from one loss to another. And when he did get his chance finally, Gaikwad began with scores of 0, 5 and 0 – hardly the form expected from the next big batting hope.

Fortunately for him, the Chennai team isn’t known for knee-jerk decision making. Both MS Dhoni, the captain, and Stephen Fleming, the coach, spoke to him, as did other senior members in the squad. Gaikwad finished the season strongly, with 3 half centuries, and he started the 2021 campaign so well that he was being spoken of as a potential India player. Then the virus intervened again and the Indian T20 League had to be halted.

Gaikwad did get his first India cap, in Sri Lanka, but as part of a weakened side with most of the leading lights playing a Test series in England. So when the Indian T20 League resumed in September in the UAE, he still had plenty to prove. He did so brilliantly, as his combination at the top of the order with Faf du Plessis inspired Chennai’s 4th title win. The two matched each other stroke for stroke till the end, with Gaikwad scoring just 2 runs more than du Plessis to grab the Orange Cap.

Though he has a reputation as a touch player rather than a powerful one, Gaikwad’s game certainly doesn’t lack power. During the Indian T20 League season 2021, only KL Rahul (30) hit more sixes than Gaikwad did (23). His league-leading tally of 64 fours illustrated just how good he is at finding the gaps. With so many of Chennai’s stars reaching the end of their illustrious careers, Gaikwad could well be a future captain.

Another bout of Covid-19, this time after the Indian team assembled in Ahmedabad in January 2022, delayed his ODI debut for India, but he seems certain to be a contender across the three formats for years to come. Dhoni and Fleming have spoken of his strength of character and sharp mind, and leading Maharashtra in domestic cricket has given him a taste of leadership and responsibility.

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Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Personal Details

    • Name
    • :
    • Ruturaj Dashrat Gaikwad
    • Date of Birth
    • :
    • 31st January 1997
    • Birthplace
    • :
    • Pune, India
    • Height
    • :
    • 5′9″
    • Batting Style
    • :
    • Right-handed batter
    • Playing Role
    • :
    • Top-order batter
    • Teams Played For
    • :
    • India, Chennai team

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Current Rankings

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Career Summary

    • Format
    • M
    • Inn
    • Runs
    • HS
    • Avg
    • SR
    • 100
    • 200
    • 50
    • 4s
    • 6s
    • CT
    • T20I
    • 2
    • 2
    • 35
    • 21 vs. SL
    • 17.50
    • 125.00
    • 0
    • 0
    • 0
    • 3
    • 0
    • 1

Ruturaj Gaikwad– Key Skills and Strengths

Gaikwad himself reckons that his greatest strength is 50-overs cricket, where there is less pressure on the batter to go after the bowling from the outset. In an era of big bats and even bigger hitters, Gaikwad’s game is a throwback to the days when batters were encouraged to hit the ball through the gaps in the field rather than slog over it. He scores at more than a run a ball in 50-overs cricket, but the T20 numbers are far from shabby. He hits more than 1 six a game while scoring consistently and fast.

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Awards and Achievements

Gaikwad made his India debut in Sri Lanka in 2021, in a side coached by Rahul Dravid, who would soon go on to replace Ravi Shastri as the national coach. While the Test team played in England, Gaikwad and the others auditioned for a role in India’s future white-ball plans. But for being laid low by Covid-19, he would almost certainly have made his ODI debut against the West Indies in February 2022. At 25, his wealth of experience at domestic level makes him an attractive option as India look beyond the 2023 World Cup.

Here are some of Gaikwad’s major achievements:

  • He was the winner of the Orange Cap for being the leading run scorer of the Indian T20 League 2021.

  • Named Emerging Player of the Season after his exploits in the Indian T20 League in 2021.

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Indian T20 League Journey

Bought by Chennai at the 2018 auction, Gaikwad didn’t even get a game in the 2019 season as Chennai lost the final to Mumbai by just 1 run. In 2020, with the pandemic forcing the tournament to be shifted to the UAE, Chennai had their worst season. Chosen by the management as the leading option to replace Suresh Raina, who gave the season a miss, Gaikwad missed the first half of the campaign after testing positive for Covid-19. But with the team floundering, he was one of those Chennai tried as they sought to look to the future. After a poor start, he finished the season with 3 consecutive 50s.

In the Indian T20 League 2021, Gaikwad was Faf du Plessis’s partner at the top of the order. His stellar season included his first T20 century and 4 fifties, as Chennai bounced back from the disappointment of 2020 to win the title for a 4th time.

He held off Du Plessis to win the Orange Cap as the competition’s leading run scorer, and it was no surprise at all when Chennai opted to retain him before the 2022 auction. With so many of the Chennai stalwarts well into their 30s, Gaikwad will be one of those players they build the team around.

    • Format
    • M
    • Runs
    • HS
    • Avg
    • SR
    • 100
    • 50
    • 4s
    • 6s
    • CT
    • Indian T20 League
    • 22
    • 839
    • 101* vs. Rajasthan
    • 46.61
    • 132.13
    • 1
    • 7
    • 80
    • 29
    • 10

Ruturaj Gaikwad: FAQs

Does Gaikwad come from a sporting background?

No, he doesn’t. His father, Dashrat, worked for the DRDO, an Indian defence organisation, and his mother is a school teacher.

Is he adept at any other sport?

Gaikwad likes to play golf in his spare time.

How did Gaikwad first catch the eye of national talent scouts?

It was during an Under-19 game for Maharashtra. Gaikwad made a thrilling double-century, even as the team made only 250 runs.

What was Gaikwad’s first significant impact in the India set-up?

He smashed 187* for India A against their Sri Lankan counterparts in June 2019.

Who has praised Gaikwad’s “sharp cricket mind”?

It was MS Dhoni, his captain in Team Chennai. When Gaikwad started off with the scores of 0, 5 and 0 in the 2020 Indian T20 League season, it was Dhoni that told him to relax and not feel pressured.

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