The Ruturaj Gaikwad story goes back to Indian Premier League 2020 where he made a tumultuous start of sorts and his natural ability to bat as an opener was overlooked by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni initially. The third highest run-scorer in the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy contracted Covid-19 ahead of his debut season. And although, he recovered in time and was picked up in the playing eleven, Dhoni would ask him to bat down the order.
The Pune-born batsman then failed to show spark or his natural ability. He was benched for his poor run. CSK would go on to try different combinations at the top - Shane Watson with Faf du Plessis, Sam Curran with du Plessis, while the youngster would look on from the bench.
It took time and Gaikwad was finally allowed to bat at his natural position and he hit two half-centuries as an opener. He depicted a sense of confidence in his free-flowing knock with a bit of 'Kane Williamson' in his calm and composed approach. He finished the IPL 2020 on a high with 204 runs from six matches at an average of 51.
It was also the start for something new for Gaikwad as he sealed the opening spot for CSK and continues to establish himself. The right-handed batsman has looked in control in the ongoing season with two half-centuries including his highest score in the league -- 75 runs coming against SunRisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
His 44-ball knock which consisted of 12 boundaries helped him forge an opening stand of 129 runs with du Plessis which put CSK in cruise control while chasing a total of 172 runs at the Arun Jaitley stadium in New Delhi.
Gaikwad has already accumulated 192 runs in the ongoing season which could well be career-defining and take him to distance. But as much as Gaikwad is easy on the eye to watch, his approach in the powerplay looks to be slow, as he builds on his innings gradually without taking much risk.
His contribution, however, counts as long as it helps the Chennai franchise clinch victories.