Ruturaj too did not help his cause. The right-handed batsman made 10 off 13 deliveries with a four against Rajasthan Royals, 5 off 16 balls with no fours against Punjab Kings and 5 off 8 with a solitary four against Delhi Capitals. So, that’s 20 runs in 37 balls with two fours in three games. Hardly T20 stuff.
Soon enough, the fans had forgotten that Ruturaj was one of the few streaks of lights the Super Kings have had in the IPL 2020, where the three-time champions were ousted in the league stage itself.
The presence of Robin Uthappa in the CSK dug out too made the position of Ruturaj seems untenable. Uthappa is a proven IPL performer and often makes an impact at the pole position.
Just as the cries to get Uthappa in the 11 getting shriller, Ruturaj made a fluent 64 off 42 balls and shared a hundred-run partnership against Kolkata Knight Riders in a winning cause. The fans’ darling was back.
“Obviously, it feels good. Icing on the cake is winning for the team. It feels good when you contribute for the team but I think it was great experience. Looking forward to many more knocks. With Faf, it is pretty much easy. He has an innovation skill so he takes on the bowlers so it makes my job little bit easier.
“Against KKR, it was a matter of taking a bit of time for me. We were playing on a small ground, we had to keep going. One over I used to take chances, the next over Faf used to take,” Ruturaj told Lungi Ngidi.
Faf du Plessis saw the Ruturaj innings from close quarters and heaped praise on the youngster. “Gaikwad is a fantastic young talent. Those first couple of balls you can feel on edge as a batter. Beautiful to see him trust the timing and the technique. For a small guy he hits the ball a long way,” said the South African.
The effort of Ruturaj is also a thanksgiving gift for the faith the CSK management showed in him through the turmoil. Coach Stephen Fleming had backed him openly to get a good run in the IPL 2021.
“Rutu is somebody who has shown his class in the last IPL. You always need to assess where he is mentally. Once when he was off guard, I just asked him how are you feeling today,” Dhoni said.
“When you put a question like that, you wait for the reactions, you see what’s in his eyes. There was enough in his reactions to suggest he wasn’t rattled. That’s what I’ve been doing all my life (applying psychology) but in a good way,” said the Super Kings captain.
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