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Ruturaj Gaikwad eager to exploit lessons from MS Dhoni, Rahul Dravid in Sri Lanka

Ruturaj Gaikwad

Pune, June 11: Ruturaj Gaikwad made a strong impression for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2020 and IPL 2021 and he was rewarded with a place in the Indian team to tour Sri Lanka next month. Rightfully, he was quite emotional.

Gaikwad said on Friday (June 11) he would be banking on his ability to adapt to make an impression during the Sri Lanka trip. The 24-year-old from Maharashtra is one of the six uncapped players named in the 20-member squad for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.

The Shikhar Dhawan-led side will play three ODIs and three T-20 matches between July 13 and July 25.

"I am just happy. Right from the moment I got to know about it, you know a journey comes in front of your eyes that from where you started and where you wanted to reach...it's a pretty emotional feeling," Gaikwad told PTI.

"You get the thought of people who have supported you throughout the journey, be it my parents, friends or coaches. So, obviously proud feeling for everyone and happy feeling for everyone," he said.

The right-hander averages over 47 in the 59 List A matches and has a strike rate of more than 130 in the T20 format.

Gaikwad feels adapting to any situation in the game is his "core strength". "...be it in an attacking manner or be it playing according to situation, taking some time or making sure your team crosses the line, the way I adapt to both situations, that is what I think my strength is more often," he asserted.

Gaikwad said he is looking to reconnect with Rahul Dravid, who would be the head coach of the team. Dravid had coached the India under-19 and A teams. "The opportunities would be limited but I'm just looking forward to learn from this journey as much as I can. There are experienced players in the group and obviously once again I will get a chance to reconnect with Rahul Sir," he said.

"The last India A tour happened one and half years ago, so again, there is a chance to regroup with him (Rahul Dravid) have a chat about the game, so there is lot more than just performance or scorecard.

"Obviously if I get opportunity, just hoping that I can give my best and wish to win a game for India. One of my biggest goals is to get a win for the Indian team or my country."

Gaikwad has shared the dressing room with the likes of Faf du Plessis and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in CSK and he believes that he has learnt several things from them.

"I think with Mahi Bhai, obviously whatever he speaks it is always eye-catching and I had heard that he spoke about me in the post-match presentation and all, I don't talk much with him, he knows that I'm a quiet and shy guy," he said.

"When he (Dhoni) thinks I'm under the pump or pressure, he is first one to come and ask me that 'are you feeling something like that and you need not worry'," he recalled.

"Even last year there was a situation, where I started badly in IPL, so he was the one who came up first and asked me to relax and enjoy the game...it calmed my nerves a little bit and it helped me enjoy my game.

"There are lot of inputs he has given me throughout and they have not just helped in cricket but also helped me in life," he said.

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Story first published: Friday, June 11, 2021, 16:24 [IST]
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