Aakash Chopra lauded Ruturaj Gaikwad for his impressive run during Chennai Super Kings’ winning campaign at IPL 2021. The 24-year-old aggregated 635 runs at 45.36 in the season, while forming a formidable opening pair with Faf du Plessis, and became the youngest player ever to win the Orange cap.
Ruturaj Gaikwad had excelled as an opener during the first half of the IPL 2021, following which, he earned a maiden India call-up during their limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka in July. He could muster just 35 runs from two innings then, but rediscovered his best in the first game of IPL second leg, striking a match-winning 88* against Mumbai Indians in Dubai.
The brilliance continued thereafter, as he stroked his maiden IPL hundred against the Rajasthan Royals, before setting the tone with a fluent 70 in Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals. In the final against Kolkata Knight Riders, he added 61 in 8.1 overs with Faf du Plessis, to lay the foundation for a match-winning total of 192/3.
Aakash Chopra, the former India opener, couldn’t be more impressed with the youngster.
"Ruturaj Gaikwad is CSK's today and India's tomorrow,” exclaimed Chopra on his YouTube channel. “I like this player a lot. It is the first time that the same player is the Emerging Player and the Orange Cap winner. He has just topped everything.”
“Faf du Plessis - cometh the hour, cometh the man,” he said. “When the pressure is there, it is a final encounter and everything is on the line, you play a match-winning knock. Dinesh Karthik will still be feeling sad that if he had done the stumping, the things could have been different.
"When Ruturaj Gaikwad gets out, Robin Uthappa comes. He was absolutely sensational. He started from where he had left actually, the way he had played against Delhi in the last match. He hit three sixes and 31 runs off 15 balls.
“You feel that they might get slowed down once he gets out but no, Moeen Ali comes and then Mo in and ball out. They hit a lot. It is damn difficult if you reach a score of 192 in the final.”