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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Drastic change after that conversation: How MS Dhoni inspired Ruturaj Gaikwad in IPL 2020

MS Dhoni backed Ruturaj Gaikwad to succeed and the youngster impressed everyone with his batting in the last three games of IPL 2020.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: November 12, 2020 8:19:05 pm
MS Dhoni and Ruturaj Gaikwad in action during IPL 2020. (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a forgettable IPL 2020. However, for Dhoni, one of the most accomplished leaders in the history of cricket, there were a few positives to take away from season 13. One among them is the rise of 23-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was impressive in the last three matches with scores of 65 not out (vs RCB), 72 (vs KKR) and 62 not out (vs KXIP).

Gaikwad’s efforts helped CSK register victories in all three games. But it was not a smooth sailing for the youngster in the tournament as he began with a duck. Burdened with the pressure of failure, he was a bit nervous.

But Dhoni’s ability to back youngsters and get the best out of them is probably what worked for Gaikwad.

Gaikwad, in a recent interview, revealed how a conversation with Dhoni inspired him after he was dismissed for a duck in his debut match.

“I knew the challenges lying ahead in the MI game, and I had prepared to face the likes of Boult, [Jasprit] Bumrah and [James] Pattinson. But I think my dismissal kind of set the tone and we could never recover, getting bowled out for 110 odd [114 for 9],” Ruturaj Gaikwad told Sportstar.

“I was blaming myself for getting out off the new ball and being unable to give the team the start. It reflected in the field. I never let a ball slip through the legs or drop a regulation catch, but it happened in the field. It reflected in the field that my confidence was low.”

“Dhoni walked up to me and asked me if I was under pressure. He said, ‘We don’t want to pressurize you, but we have expectations from you. All I want to tell you is you are going to play the next three games without any doubt, whether you score a run or not. Try and enjoy these games and not think about performance.”

“He told me not to worry about ups and downs and to enjoy the performance. After that chat, my thought process changed. Till then, I was desperately thinking about stuff like when will I get my first boundary in the IPL or when will I have my first impact, even with a 15-20 run cameo.”

“But after that conversation, it was a drastic change. I remember during that RCB game, I was only thinking about contributing to the team’s cause in that situation. I think the captain sensed my frame of mind, changed my thought process, and freed me up,” Gaikwad concluded.

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