While Ruturaj Gaikwad was flogging Mumbai Indians bowlers in the UAE on Sunday, his parents back home in Pune avoided watching the heroics of their son for the better part of the match. The nervous parents mustered courage to watch the match only after Ruturaj had crossed the 50-mark.
The CSK opener knocked off 88 runs in just 58 balls, ensuring his team’s victory over Mumbai Indians and bagged the Man of the Match award for the cracking performance.
“We get tense before every match and feel the pressure even more because Ruturaj opens the innings for his team. Only after he settles down do we prefer to watch him play,” his father, Dashrath Gaikwad, said.
“Every cricketer’s family feels this kind of pressure. I remember reading somewhere that Mahela Jayawardene’s wife used to walk out of the room each time he was on 95 runs,” he added.
Ruturaj’s father told Indianexpress.com that they have hardly watched any of their son’s matches even during his school days. “If we go to the ground, it will play at the back of his mind and put an added pressure on him… We hardly discuss cricket with him at home. In fact, we discuss everything but cricket with him,” he said.
Talking about Ruturaj’s heroics on Sunday, the proud father said: ‘’I think the way cricket experts and pundits are reacting to the innings, it is the best one of his IPL career till now. Even the likes of Sunil Gavaskar have praised him.”
Ruturaj’s father said that Sunday’s performance should give him new confidence to navigate on the big stage. “This particular inning came under severe pressure, as Chennai Super Kings were three down for 7. Ruturaj first settled down and then launched an attack on Mumbai Indians in the company of Dwayne Bravo. Since he lifted his team from a precarious position to a winning position, it should certainly infuse new confidence in him,” he said.
Dashrath, however, added that the family does not want to weigh Ruturaj down with expectations. “We just want him to keep playing. That’s all, we want… we don’t want to put any sort of pressure on him,” he said.
While villagers and well-wishers thronged their home on Sunday to congratulate the family, the happiest family member seemed to be Ruturaj’s three-year-old nephew, Ayansh Sandeep Korde. “He was raising his hand and dancing every time Ruturaj hit a four or a six. He knows most players by their name…” Dashrath said.
Meanwhile, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said Ruturaj’s knock against MI was the “best” one of his IPL career. “When he recently met me in Pune, I had told him that he should not throw his wicket away after scoring 50. In his previous innings, he had thrown away his wicket after scoring 50. That’s why I told him he should bat till the end. If he bats till the end and scores 100, his team will score a competitive 180 runs,” Vengsarkar said.
Vengsarkar also praised the 24-year-old batsman for playing cricketing shots. “His innings was beauty personified. Be it fours or sixes, they were hit in classic fashion. There were no cross-batted heaves or unnecessary desperation to get runs in his knock,” Vengsarkar said.
The former India captain said Ruturaj has sounded his arrival on the big stage. “It is not an easy task to lift your team from a hopeless position, bat through the innings and put up a decent total on the board. He took the full responsibility on his young shoulders at a time when the big guns faltered. His maturity and temperament are fully suited for the big stage. I have no doubts he will soon be a permanent fixture of the national squad,” he said.
Vengsarkar said he sent an SMS to Ruturaj congratulating him and again urging the opener to not throw his wicket away.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines