Prior to his first start as CSK’s opener, Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed that he was low on confidence, which translated both into his batting and fielding performance against MI. After MS Dhoni’s advice and trust, the opener admitted that he was able to play with a free mind in the next three games.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was already hailed as one of the top talents on the domestic circuit, following his outstanding Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy season for Maharashtra, where he topped the batting charts. In Suresh Raina’s absence, the right-hander got his first opportunity for CSK in their clash against Rajasthan Royals, where he got out on the first ball, stepping down the wicket. In his next game, he was run-out before the franchise dropped him.
Before the Mumbai Indians game, with their season still hanging on the line, Ruturaj played in his natural position, as the opener where he got out in the first over against Trent Boult. In the field as well, the right-hander let a boundary right off his feet. Post the season, the 23-year-old has revealed that his low confidence was reflected on the field against Mumbai Indians.
"I was blaming myself for getting out off the new ball and being unable to give the team the start. It reflected in the field. I never let a ball slip through the legs or drop a regulation catch, but it happened in the field. It reflected in the field that my confidence was low," Gaikwad told Sportstar.
Following that encounter, Ruturaj revealed how MS Dhoni walked up to and him and asked him to play without having a hint of doubt in his mind. He also added that all the 39-year-old wanted from him was to try and enjoy the remaining games.
"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,” Gaikwad added.
That conversation had resulted in the batsman transforming himself into an overnight star, with three back-to-back match-winning half-centuries for the franchise, taking them home against KXIP, RCB and KKR.
“But after that conversation, it was a drastic change. I remember during that RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) 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."