While there have been a lot of questions over the exclusion of Shubhman Gill from the senior Indian squad, there’s another batsman who was left out by selectors despite a stellar performance during India A’s tour of West Indies. Ruturaj Gaikwad was bypassed despite the 22-year-old not having looked back since making his debut for Maharashtra around three years ago.
Gaikwad’s performances have largely slipped under the radar, but he has constantly been churning out runs for India ‘A’. In fact, in his last eight innings for India A, Gaikwad has amassed 677 runs with an average of 112.83 and a strike rate of 116.72.
There is this Ruturaj Gaikwad, a 22-year-old opener from Maharashtra.
His scores for India-A in List A games since June 2019 – vs SL-A and WI-A are:
99 (89) – yesterday vs West Indies A
677 runs, ave 112.83, S/r 116.72
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) July 22, 2019
In the final match against West Indies on Sunday, Gaikwad scored an 89-ball 99 which helped take India to victory by 8 wickets and with 102 balls to spare. India A won the series 4-1.
Born in Pune, Gaikwad grew up in a family that included his father Dashrath, mother Savita and a sister. He has been a very consistent player and has the ability to bat big. After making his first-class debut at the age of 19, Gaikwad has never failed to impress. In fact, he averages 56.94 and has a strike-rate of 100.93 in List ‘A’ cricket. The young right-handed opener already has five centuries and 14 half-centuries to his name in his short List-A career.
In an interview to Sportswiki, Ruturaj Gaikwad said, “I took up cricket when I was 4-5 years old and since then I have been playing with the leather ball with no proper guidance at the initial level. Professional training started when I joined Vengsarkar Cricket Academy at the age of 12.”
What makes Gaikwad stand out is his skill to build his innings and switch gears when necessary, making him a complete package.
A glimpse of Ruturaj’s batting-
The opening batsman made a great debut for Maharashtra as well. Playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the age of 20, Gaikwad scored 444 runs from just seven matches at a commendable average of 63.42 with three half-centuries and one century. He was the third highest-run getter for Maharashtra in that edition of the Vijay Hazare trophy.
After a century against England, Gaikwad was soon in the reckoning for a call-up to the junior national side. With some consistent shows in the India ‘A’ setup, Gaikwad soon earned a contract with the Chennai Super Kings squad for IPL 2019.
Gaikwad scored a scintillating 187* off just 136 deliveries and 125* of just 94 deliveries in his first two games against Sri Lanka A in June.
Given India already has Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma at the top of the batting order, Gaikwad is among those competing for a spot along with players like Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, and Shubhman Gill. He has already made it clear that he wants to play for senior Indian national team and he will continue to on bang the selectors’ door until he dons the Indian jersey, and opens the batting for the senior national team.
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