31 Mar 2021: IPL 2021: What lies ahead for Ruturaj Gaikwad?
Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most consistent franchises in the IPL history.
The Yellow Army has had a history of producing proficient match-winners.
One such talent emerged for them in the last campaign.
Top-order batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad showcased his batting abilities even though CSK crashed out of the tournament.
He will likely play as a mainstay opener for CSK this time.
IPL 2020: Ruturaj failed to make an impact in first three games
Chennai Super Kings were down and out in the 2020 season.
In a first, they couldn't make it to the playoffs due to some bleak performances.
Lack of quality batsmen at the top resulted in their downfall.
Considering the same, the management decided to give the young Ruturaj a go.
However, he was dropped after recording two ducks in first three matches.
Comeback: Ruturaj announced his comeback in style
When the hopes of qualification faded completely, skipper Dhoni handed another stint to Ruturaj.
In the first game this time, he slammed an unbeaten 65 that helped CSK beat RCB.
He followed it up with a 72-run knock against KKR (CSK won by six wickets).
In his final innings, he fired a third consecutive fifty (62*), guiding CSK to victory against Punjab Kings.
Fact: First uncapped Indian to hit three consecutive fifties
With this, Ruturaj became the first uncapped Indian to hit three back-to-back fifties in the IPL. He exhibited the "lost spark" Dhoni mentioned in the middle of the season. In six games, Ruturaj owns 204 runs at an average of 51.00.
Character: Ruturaj tested COVID-positive before the start of IPL 2020
It is interesting to note that Ruturaj was among the few players and officials to have tested COVID-positive before the start of IPL 2020.
The impact of spending several days in quarantine was visible as he looked rusty after making it to the XI.
However, he showed character by defying the odds, and went to play some astonishing knocks eventually.
Performance: IPL 2021: How will he fare this season?
So far, Ruturaj has scored 2,681 List A and 1,141 T20 runs in domestic cricket.
He recently hit a century in Vijay Hazare Trophy, leading Maharashtra. Notably, he opened the innings in that game.
Looking at his credentials, Ruturaj will certainly open for CSK as well.
Ruturaj, who has a world-class mentor, Dhoni, to guide him, will be raring to take the centre stage.