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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Ruturaj Gaikwad blazes at Abu dhabi

At Abu dhabi on the day of the man who preached non-violence, this youngster slaughtered Rajasthan Royals – peppered with 5 sixers and 9 fours.  In fact, in the last over – Ravindra Jadeja was swatting Mustafizur for 4,6,4 but many of us were not wanting them and were pleading for a single !! .. .. for the man at the other end was at 95 !  .. .. What an innings ! – and what a player he is !! – 30 balls he was scoring at run a ball and the next 30 he scored 71 !! – his first Century, has completed 500 runs and owns Orange cap and after Pollard has the longest hit @ 103 M – the man Ruturaj Gaikwad.

His mentor can take almost all credit for last season, he was badly trolled for persisting with the same batsman when he initially failed, failed miserably not troubling the scorers even ! – and what a transformation.

The name Gaekwad would turn on the Tamil cinema fans !  … .. long back there was Dattajirao Krishnarao Gaekwad who played 11 tests -  an opening batsman who was not able to command his place.  Then in 1975 at Calcutta against the mighty West Indies, his son Anshuman Gaekwad debuted and in the next test at Chepauk he made a great impression.

I belong to a generation having watched  the bespectacled Anshuman grind the pace bowlers and saw today, Ruturaj Gaikwad hit with gay abandon, eventually completing his century off the last delivery !

One may say Anshuman Gaekwad's scoring range was limited but his raw courage against pace was unlimited, a  precious commodity in Indian cricket.  In Sept 1983 after aura of WC win,  Anshuman Gaekwad was in his twilight zone – the bespectacled 31-year-old opener from Baroda had won back a hard fought place only midway through the previous season after 3-1/2 years in the wilderness and missing out on 37 Tests.  There was no question of a result and the match had the word draw written all over it and Gaekwad just kept going even as wickets fell at the other end.  Gaekwad with unrelenting determination and unwavering concentration did not falter and duly got to 200 in the company of the No 9 batsman Madan Lal. It  was the slowest double century in all first class cricket.    Gaekwad played  652 minutes (and 426 balls) to reach the landmark. Eventually Gaekwad was eighth out at 353 after scoring 201. In all he batted 671 minutes and faced 436 balls and hit 17 fours. It was the seventh longest innings in Test history.

In life, often we hear people say that they performed so well, but had no luck or were overshadowed by the efforts of somebody else.  One of my bosses used to say, that even for regular things he had to struggle, while others got them so easily – is life cruel to some !  is not the Q of the day .. .. at times life throws a bounty .. .. last season (IPL 2020) CSK were losing match after match, and many trolled MS Dhoni for continuing with Ruturaj who had failed in his first 3 matches ! – all that is left behind now ! as Ruturaj is instrumental in ensuring that CSK qualified first this year.

In Oct 2020, Ruturaj Gaikwad, from Pune,  was back inside the  CSK team's bio bubble after returning two Covid-19 negative tests following two weeks of isolation at a separate quarantine facility in Dubai. .. .. and played only because  Ambati Rayudu was not fully fit.   The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) didn’t go as planned for the three-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).  

Last season in 6 matches Ruturaj scored 204 with 3 50s and this season in 12 matches (including the one today) he has scored whopping 508 ! with 1 century and 6 fifties !! – what a performance

A 22-year old opening batsman who hails from Pune, Ruturaj Gaikwad has been a consistent performer for his state team Maharashtra. He was the highest run-getter for Maharashtra in the league stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2018-19. At the IPL 2019 Player Auction, the Chennai Super Kings secured his services at his base price of INR 20 lacs.

Today with his blitz of  five sixes and 9 fours, CSK reached 189/4 in 20 overs. Gaikwad, who reached his fifty in 43 deliveries, shifted gears in middle overs, accelerating to the three-figure mark in just 60 balls. He reached the milestone with a six off Mustafizur Rahman on the last ball of the innings.  En route his ton, Gaikwad also got hold of the Orange Cap, surpassing KL Rahul (489 runs) on the list. Gaikwad now has 508 runs in the ongoing IPL edition at an average of 50.80.

It was skipper MS Dhoni's 200th game for Chennai but Gaikwad stole the limelight by becoming the ninth CSK player to score an IPL ton. He is also the youngest CSK player (24y 244d) to notch up an IPL century. Gaikwad also became the first player to cross the 500-run mark this season. Overall, he became the seventh Chennai player to score 500+ runs in an IPL season. He joins the elusive list comprising Suresh Raina (3), Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Smith, Ambati Rayudu, and Shane Watson.

A match Ruturaj would not forget in his life, perhaps most of us who saw him play would not ! – but will Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal ruin CSK’s party ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Oct 2021 @ 10 pm.


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