Dubai: A ‘reticent’ Ruturaj Gaikwad took some time to make a mark in the ongoing IPL but he has managed to impress his CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who believes that the young opener is “one of the most talented players going around”.
Gaekwad scored his second straight half-century on Thursday to set up a six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders here. He got his chance after Chennai Super Kings decided to field untested players following a disastrous start to the season.
“(The changes) are a conscious effort. We want to give games to people who haven’t played and we need them to grab those opportunities. Ruturaj we’d seen him in the nets, but then he got Covid positive and took 20 days. Unfortunate but he’ll remember this season,” said Dhoni at the post-match presentation.
“He’s one of the most talented players going around. What makes it difficult is he’s not somebody who speaks a lot, so sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player.”
Gaekwad, who had tested COVID-19 positive in the lead up to the tournament, has all the shots and his style of play is pleasing to the eye. Things did not look bright for the 23-year-old after he failed in his first three innings (0, 5, 0).
“Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants to and he was planning. When we made him play the first game, he got out, stepped out.
“It becomes difficult to tell whether it was the pressure that made him step out or whether that’s his natural game. One ball isn’t enough,” Dhoni said about the Maharashtra batsman.
The CSK skipper also praised Ravindra Jadeja for his match-winning cameo, which included two sixes in the final over the game.
“This season Jadeja has been fantastic. He’s been the only batsman in our team who has taken the job of scoring in the last few overs. Not just using his power but through point if the field is up.
“I feel throughout the season we needed someone by his side,” Dhoni added. The CSK skipper said this was one game where the plans went in their favour and hailed the effort of the players.
“It was one game where the plans went in our favour. Needed a lot of effort from the players. Really glad the coin fell in our favour,” he added.
Asked how important it was to end on a high, Dhoni added: “We haven’t performed in the tournament but we felt it’s important to be relevant in the tournament.”
“That’s what we kept requesting the guys. We said you prepare how you want to, but 3-3.5 hours give your best. We are not in the position to qualify for the next stage but we have had a glimpse of people who can play for us in the coming seasons.”
KKR captain Eoin Morgan said they were probably on the wrong side of the toss.
“We probably played a bit well there. Probably on the wrong side of the toss. Our bowlers gave it everything, but the skills were a bit off. We’ll have to move on quickly.
“I think the score (172/5) was enough. We felt we were right in the game. Probably 165 was par if the wicket and conditions stayed the same. I actually think we had a good batting day.
“One world class spinner (Narine), and the other on the cusp of playing for India (Chakravarthy). They’re fantastic spinners. I can’t fault any bowlers. “Nagarkoti probably didn’t have enough runs to defend (in the final over), would have liked 16-17. He’s a young guy, he’ll take it on the chin and move on,” Morgan said.