The amount of cricketing talent that keeps cropping up in India is simply ridiculous. In a country where cricket is treated like a religion, there are millions playing the game daily, most with the hope of making it big one day. So, it’s obvious that those who do manage to make it to the top have to be among the best. Today, we are going to take you through the story of another extremely talented youngster, Ruturaj Dashrat Gaikwad.
If you are one of those who regularly follows updates from the Indian domestic circuit, you would’ve surely heard of Gaikwad by now. The 22-year old represents Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy and other tournaments, and has witnessed steady growth over the years, rising through the ranks right from his U-16 days and even before.
The last few months have seen his hard work paying off a bit, with several achievements including the major one of being purchased by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the upcoming 2019 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). This young gun has displayed immense talent in the domestic circuit and it’s now time for the world to see the same.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) December 18, 2018
Read Scoops reached out to Gaikwad and spoke to him in detail about his career so far, his likes/dislikes, his goals as a cricketer, and of course, about how it feels to have made it to this extremely big stage, which is almost intimidating for most. Gaikwad was nice enough to talk us through the same and for all insights on his career, you can keep reading this exclusive interview…
Ruturaj Gaikwad social profiles🌐:
RUTURAJ GAIKWAD’s Exclusive Interview With Read Scoops:
Q. Hi Ruturaj. December 2018 was probably one of the best months of your career, bagging an IPL contract for the first time. Tell us about the support received through this journey so far.
“My family has been the core of my support system so far in this journey. They’ve been so supportive of my ambitions right since the time I began playing cricket. They’ve never asked me to focus more on studies and less on cricket, even during times that I haven’t been performing with the bat.”
“I would like to also thank my academy, Vengsarkar Cricket Academy which is located in PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad) area. I’ve been there since the last 9-10 years, right since the age of 11. They’ve always been supportive and encouraging. Even today, they oblige whenever I request them to let me practice.”
Q. In your years of professional cricket so far, what would you describe as the highlight moment(s)?
“The most memorable day for me was definitely being selected to play for India A. The last 2-3 months have been full of surprises for me. Firstly, I was picked to play in the Under-23 Asia Cup, then got selected for a Board President’s game against England Lions, where I scored a century and that was probably the reason I was called up to the India A squad. Rahul Dravid Sir appreciated me a lot, showed a lot of confidence in me and was very happy with my batting. So, this has to be the best moment for me so far, followed by getting picked by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL 2019 Auction.”
Q. Since what age have you been seeing the dream of playing in the IPL? Most youngsters who share the same dream are unable to crack an IPL contract. What do you think was the ‘X-factor’ in your case?
“Honestly, I was hoping for an IPL contract in the next 2-3 years, and was certainly not expecting to get one this year. Regardless, I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m an attacking batsman and I always like to play my shots and maintain a high strike rate, whether it is a One Day game or a T20 game. At the same time, I always focus on rotating the strike and keeping the scoreboard ticking. In the last 2 years, consistency has been the key for me in white ball cricket, so I think that may have been the main reason.”
We at Read Scoops believe that his fielding could also be an X-factor. Take a look:
Q. Did you expect CSK to pick you? What was your reaction when it happened?
“I had no idea at all that CSK would be looking out for me. I had a small idea that maybe MI (Mumbai) or RR (Rajasthan) would want me in their squad, but CSK was a total surprise. I was watching the IPL Auction live for a while, but then I realized that my name had already gone past in the first round, so I wasn’t watching. Suddenly, I got a lot of ‘Congratulations, Congratulations!’ texts and that’s when I realized that I was picked for IPL 2019. I was literally blank for a couple of hours. I didn’t know what was happening. Yes, getting picked in the IPL is a big achievement, so it was difficult for me to process at that point of time.”
Q. You recently played in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup, where most of your teammates already had IPL contracts. How was that experience?
“It was a very good experience for me personally. It was the first exposure for me at the international level and the pressure was completely different, considering I was representing India. At the domestic level, you got 1-2 good bowlers coming at you, but at the international level, every bowler is giving their best, so that series turned out to be a good learning phase for me and I’ve hoped to improve from there on.”
Q. Moving into CSK camp – how excited are you to be playing with MS Dhoni and the others?
“Just like everyone else who gets to play with MS Dhoni, I’m very very very much looking forward to playing under him. Obviously, I’m also waiting to share the dressing room with the likes of Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, and Faf du Plessis, as I’m a big fan of these guys. But overall, I think I’m looking forward to playing with each and every one of them.”
Q. Any special preparations for the season?
“Personally, I’m not doing anything different. I just played 10-12 T20 games in the 2019 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (representing Maharashtra), most of which were on difficult wickets with low bounce. Even there, I managed to score a couple of fifties and a few thirties, so I have that confidence and I hope to carry that into IPL 2019.”
“I haven’t really set myself a goal or a time period as to when I want to first play for India, but yes, I want to reach there as early as I can,” said Gaikwad on a parting note, when we brought up the topic of beating thousands of players that share similar dreams, and eventually winning an India cap.
Just to get an idea of this young player’s talent, why not check out this video of an innings he played against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy in November 2018. His century on a hot and dry day was a refreshing one, with some exceptional shots on display. Watch the video and please, don’t miss the celebration!
RAPID FIRE with Ruturaj 🏃♂🔥
- Favourite IPL moment? “Right since the start, there have been plenty of exciting IPL moments, but if I had to pick one, it would be when Mumbai Indians beat Pune Supergiant by 1 run in the IPL 2017 final, as I was a Mumbai Indians fan until last year.”
- Favourite cricketers? “Indian – Rohit Sharma, International – Kane Williamson.”
- Favourite format of the game? “It has to be One Day Cricket. I love playing my natural game right from the start of an innings and always want to hit a boundary on Ball 1 itself. I get that opportunity in the day game.”
- What would you be if not a cricketer? “I would be a tennis player for sure. I was good at tennis and would’ve played at a professional level if I hadn’t stopped it like 4-5 years back. I reached a certain level and one day, I had to attend a cricket game at the same time, so I made my choice.”
On behalf of the entire team at Read Scoops, I would like to use this platform to say thank you to Ruturaj Gaikwad for taking the time out to converse with us. I wish him the best of luck for the upcoming IPL 2019 season, and also hope to soon see him playing and entertaining crowds in Team India colours!
– Dwayne Fernandes, Read Scoops