After playing a match-winning inning of 42-ball 69, Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed that it did come as a blow to him not being able to join the Chennai team as he got infected with Covid and had to miss a few games. He added he has always played the role of an anchor, taking his teams over the ropes.
Chasing the target of 154, Chennai always remained in the driver’s seat, winning the match by 9 wickets, courtesy of a brilliant inning from youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad, who anchored the whole chase to take Chennai over the ropes. Scoring unbeaten 49-ball 62, Gaikwad brought his third consecutive fifty against Punjab, but things weren’t always rosy for the youngster, who, initially, had to remain in quarantine as he was infected by Covid, missing the first few games for Chennai.
After his elegant innings, Gaikwad revealed that it did hurt him not to be part of the squad in the beginning, being unavailable for the opening few games of his debut season, not helping him settle in the squad.
“Not to be part of the squad which was practising initially, to miss the first few games, it was difficult for me. But the management and every teammate made sure that I was positive. Important part of the squad and it did help a lot,” Gaikwad said post-match after receiving the Man of the Match award.
However, he did mention that he got used to playing with the star players of Chennai after the initial two games and was happy to play with his ‘hero’ Ambati Rayudu.
“Being in the change room and being on the field - I was used to it. One or two games, it was surreal (playing with the star players). Even yesterday I saying to Rayudu - 'it's the first time I am batting with you, you are my hero,' and he was happy for that,” he said.
The Maharashtra batsman was picked by Chennai on the back of consistent performances in the domestic circuit and India A team. Gaikwad insisted that he has always played the role of the anchor for all his teams, hence, was confident to do the same job for Chennai.
“I was scoring well in the domestic circuit in every format, so I was feeling confident. Even for my club and state team, I had to be the anchor, make sure the team wins and I stay till the end. At times, I also need to be aggressive. One of my favourite - inside-out (shot),” he added.