Right-handed batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad averages over 47 in 59 List A matches and has a strike rate of over 130 in T20Is.
Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was selected in the Indian team for the Sri Lanka tour in July, said on Friday that whatever legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni) says is always worth following. Also Read – Raina-Dhoni Friendship: It hurts when people say that I played in Team India because of my friendship with MS Dhoni: Suresh Raina
Gaikwad, who played under Dhoni’s captaincy during the Indian Premier League, said, “To talk about Mahi bhai, obviously whatever he says is always worth following. I heard he talked about me during the post-match presentation. I don’t talk much with him, he knows I am a quiet and shy player. Whenever Dhoni felt that I was under pressure, he used to come to me first and say that there is nothing to worry about. Also Read – India vs Sri Lanka: Announcement of Indian team for Sri Lanka tour, Shikhar Dhawan will captain; Watch Full Squad here
Gaikwad said he would repose confidence in his ability to adapt quickly to the conditions during the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. The 24-year-old from Maharashtra is one of the six new faces in the 20-man squad selected by Shikhar Dhawan for the tour of Sri Lanka from July 13 to July 25. Also Read – Ind vs Pak: If MS Dhoni had not retired, I would have made him the captain of Pakistan: Yasir Arafat
Gaikwad said, “I am very happy. From the moment I came to know about it, the journey of my career came in front of my eyes, where did I start my journey and where do I want to reach. I am full of emotions right now. You think of the people who have supported you throughout the journey, be it my parents, friends or coaches. So obviously there is a feeling of pride for all and a matter of happiness for all.”
Gaikwad feels that adapting to any situation in the game is his ‘major strength’. He said, “My strength is to play according to the needs of the team whether it is aggressive or according to the situation. Sometimes it has to be ensured that the team comes out of a difficult situation. I am adaptable to both offensive and defensive positions, which I think is my strength.
The youngster, who has grown rapidly after achieving success with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, said that he would like to reunite again with Rahul Dravid, who will be the head coach of the team. Dravid has previously coached the Indian Under-19 and A teams. “There will be limited opportunities on this tour but I am looking forward to learn as much as I can from this visit. The team has experienced players and obviously I will get a chance to associate with Rahul sir once again.
He said, “India A’s last tour was about one and a half years ago, so once again they will get a chance to meet and talk. So it is much more than the performance and scorecard figures. Obviously if I get a chance, hopefully I can give my best and win matches for India. My biggest goal is to win for the Indian team or my country.
Gaikwad can now join the list of great Maharashtra cricketers like Chandu Borde and Kedar Jadhav who played for India. He said that Jadhav has played an influential role in his journey. “Kedar (Jadhav) has been with me since the beginning of my journey, ever since my first-class career began and I think he has been very influential throughout the journey. He has always encouraged me.”