Ruturaj Gaikwad: If CSK gives him a sustained run, it can expect to benefit substantially in the long-term

Chennai Super Kings had a torrid season in 2020, kind of like humanity in general. Among the very few positives the Yellow Army took from the season was the emergence of a young opening batsman by the name of Ruturaj Gaikwad.

With CSK’s season looking grim and its team morale shaky, Gaikwad was given a chance. Six matches later, he had hammered 204 runs and all but burst onto the main event.

But those in the know are aware Gaikwad did his breaking out earlier, during the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare trophy. The relatively unknown boy from Pune, Maharashtra ended up as the third highest run-scorer in the tournament, with an astonishing 444 runs in seven games.

Those who watched him were impressed with his ability to play fast and fluid cricket. He was able to keep the runs ticking even under pressure.

Gaikwad was born on January 31, 1997. From his childhood, he was backed to become a serious player in Indian cricket. The right-handed batsman swiftly rose through the ranks of the state team with his stellar performances, including being the highest scorer for Maharashtra in the league stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2018-19.

As a recognition for his performances, he was called up to the India A team. He made his mark there with his deft touches with the bat and his shot timing, as opposed to other young players employing powerhitting.

His unbeaten 187 against Sri Lanka A was his finest knock, and it cemented him as one to watch.

In 2019, Chennai Super Kings secured his services for ₹20 lakh. Although he wasn’t initially selected in the playing XI, he broke into first-class cricket the following season.

Taking his chance, he ran away with it, hitting the aforementioned 204 runs. This number included back-to-back-to-back fifties against RCB, KKR and Punjab. By doing so, he made history, becoming the first uncapped Indian to achieve this feat.

This season, Gaikwad has cemented his place in the new and improved CSK team, and has delivered the goods when needed. The 24 year-old has scored 196 runs in seven matches, and is primed for bigger things in cricket.

He is young, but hardly raw and displays a maturity well above what’s expected from him. Judging by his age, batting technique and the numbers he puts up, you wouldn’t bet against him terrorizing bowlers for years to come.

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