Ruturaj Gaikwad received his maiden call-up to the Indian side when he was picked for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. Gaikwad scored a couple of fifties in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) this season and ended the 2020 edition scoring three continuous fifties.
The Maharashtra batsman was going through a poor run of form last season and it was his CSK skipper MS Dhoni who always advised him and told him to just enjoy the game. "I think with Mahi Bhai, obviously whatever he speaks it is always eye-catching and I had heard that he spoke about me in the post-match presentation and all, I don't talk much with him, he knows that I'm a quiet and shy guy," Gaikwad told PTI.
"When he (Dhoni) thinks I'm under the pump or pressure, he is first one to come and ask me that 'are you feeling something like that and you need not worry," he recalled.
"Even last year there was a situation, where I started badly in IPL, so he was the one who came up first and asked me to relax and enjoy the game...it calmed my nerves a little bit and it helped me enjoy my game. There are a lot of inputs he has given me throughout and they have not just helped in cricket but also helped me in life," the 24-year-old added.
Gaikwad says that he is looking forward to reuniting with Rahul Dravid, who was his coach during his under-19 and India A days during the Sri Lanka tour. "The opportunities would be limited but I'm just looking forward to learning from this journey as much as I can. There are experienced players in the group and obviously, once again I will get a chance to reconnect with Rahul Sir," he said.
"The last India A tour happened one and half years ago, so again, there is a chance to regroup with him (Rahul Dravid) have a chat about the game, so there is lot more than just performance or scorecard," Gaikwad, who averages over 47 and 32 in List A and T20s respectively added.