Mark Nicholas has noticed and pointed out that Ruturaj Gaikwad resembles Ajinkya Rahane in not only his build and stance but also his batting performance, showing the face of his bat. Alongside that, he also praised Natarajan’s progress, admitting that he is everything IPL's pathway stands for.
After suffering the grimmest of starts, Chennai Super Kings dropped Ruturaj Gaikwad from the playing XI after their encounter against Delhi Capitals. Post that, they resorted back to familiar figures in the form of Kedar Jadhav and Shane Watson in the batting order, a move that horribly backfired. Later on, they tried to be street-smart, employing Sam Curran at the top, another move that backfired before they entrusted Gaikwad with the responsibility.
In his first innings against Mumbai at the top, the right-hander was well beaten by the late in-swinger from Trent Boult, which then after review resulted in his dismissal. However, post the Mumbai game, the right-hander put his hand up and registered three back-to-back match-winning performances for the franchise, in which he was unbeaten in two of them, showcasing his abilities with 206 runs.
These performances from Gaikwad have impressed Mark Nicholas, who noticed that the right-hander is a shadow of Ajinkya Rahane in his build and stance.
“In build and stance, there is something of Ajinkya Rahane to him - slim, slight and orthodox. The similarities do not end there. His batting has an efficiency to it, as if the frills are for others less down to earth. His driving of the ball is at once clinical and crisp, with energy conserved for the six inches either side of contact with the ball, during which time his hands are - well, big call, I know - Dhoni-fast. From the commentary box behind the bowling arm, we see a lot of the face of the bat in his defence. The second Mr Gaikwad is another to watch,” wrote Nicholas on ESPNCricinfo’s website.
On the other hand, another name that has popped up during the course of this season’s IPL is Tamil Nadu’s Thangarasu Natarajan, a bowler who is now well-known for his pin-point yorkers, which was his trademark in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Nicholas opined that the left-arm seamer is a feisty competitor, who is street-smart with bowling. Alongside that, he also reckoned that Natarajan stands for everything that the IPL pathway is known for.
“Natarajan is a feisty competitor, street-smart, and a master of the yorker. Ask him to bowl six of them at a handkerchief, he will suggest there is no chance. Replace the hanky with a batsman and he reckons he will nail six from six. T Natarajan is everything the IPL pathway stands for.”
In terms of the tournament itself, Nicholas admitted that IPL 2020 has surprised him, with the thrills, including three super-overs in the tournament, out of which Punjab played a double super-over thriller against Mumbai.
“Has the tournament surprised me? Yes. The standard is high, the drama ongoing, and the spirit as it should be. I've had my favourites, as any onlooker should, because over seven weeks and across 60 matches, you cannot help but warm to the stage and its players. There are days when you think "Enough now!" and days when you thank your lucky stars,” he concluded.