IPL 2021: “I don’t believe them,” Ruturaj Gaikwad on his comparison with MS Dhoni’s calmness

Ruturaj Gaikwad | IPL/BCCI

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener Ruturaj Gaikwad became the youngest player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to win the Orange Cup during the IPL 2021. Ruturaj scored 635 runs to win the prestigious cap and he had a memorable tournament as CSK also went on to win the IPL title.

Ruturaj’s calmness was compared with the CSK skipper MS Dhoni by his teammates Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa. But the youngster laughed it off and said he doesn’t believe what Raina and Uthappa said.

“It’s really surprising (comparisons to Dhoni’s composure and calmness). I don’t believe them (laughs),” he quoted as saying by India Today.“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.

The 24-year-old is only the third batsman in CSK’s history to score over 600 runs in an IPL season. Michael Hussey (733 runs, 2013) and Ambati Rayudu (602 runs, 2018) are the only other batters to achieve this feat.

Ruturaj played some of the impressive knocks in the IPL 2021, and one of them came against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the second phase of the tournament. CSK was 24/4 when he scored 88* to help them put on a winning total of 156/6. They ended up winning the match by 20 runs and Ruturaj won the Player of the Match for his innings.

The Maharashtra batter spoke on his learnings from the experienced cricketer Dhoni. He said the CSK captain is particular about making sure he doesn’t allow outside noise to get into his head.

“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,” he 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’.”

Dhoni also advised Ruturaj to limit his social media usage which could help him focus on his cricket more. The CSK skipper himself isn’t much active on social media platforms. “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,” he said.

Ruturaj got the opportunity to debut for India when they toured Sri Lanka under the captaincy of Shikhar Dhawan and head coach Rahul Dravid. He opened up on his preparation for the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and said playing in Sri Lanka was a confidence booster.

“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.