'You will play next 3 games whether you score a run or not' - MS Dhoni's words that freed up Ruturaj Gaikwad's mind

‘You will play next 3 games whether you score a run or not’ – MS Dhoni’s words that freed up Ruturaj Gaikwad’s mind

Ruturaj Gaikwad started IPL 2020 on a terrible note but ended on a high with three consecutive half-centuries.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and MS Dhoni
Ruturaj Gaikwad and MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Chennai Super Kings’ new batting sensation Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed the conversation he had with his captain MS Dhoni after his tough start to the campaign in the just-concluded IPL 2020. The right-handed batsman’s stay in the UAE for the tournament started on the worst possible note as he was tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t get ample time to train.

Consequently, he missed CSK’s tournament-opener against Mumbai Indians but got the chance in the playing XI for the following game against Rajasthan Royals. However, Gaikwad, who was making his IPL debut, failed to grab the chance and was out for a duck. In his next two outings, he registered scores of 5 and 0 against Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians respectively.

The gap between the games against Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians was nearly a month as it looked like Gaikwad would be dropped again after his failure against the latter. But CSK persisted with him for their last three games of the season and it paid off. The youngster totally justified the faith shown in him by scoring three consecutive match-winning fifties and helped CSK bow out of IPL 2020 on a high.

Conversation with MS Dhoni:

Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed the conversation with MS Dhoni that ‘freed him up’ mentally after the tough start to life in IPL. The Maharashtra star said the CSK skipper sensed his state of mind and assured him that he would play in the last three games of the season irrespective of how he performed in them. Dhoni indeed remained true to his words and Gaikwad thoroughly justified his captain’s faith.

“Dhoni walked up to me and asked me if I was under pressure. He said, ‘We don’t want to pressurise 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,” Ruturaj Gaikwad told Sportstar.

“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,” he added.

As far as CSK’s performance in IPL is concerned, they bowed out of the competition at the league stage for the first time in their history. With 6 wins from 14 games, the three-time champions finished the tournament at the seventh spot.