Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad showed he has enough spark in him for a youngster as the 23-year-old right-hander scored back-to-back fifty in IPL 2020 when CSK took on Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday. Ruturaj shot six boundaries and two sixes during his 53-ball 72 as he helped CSK chase down a big 173 total for which he was also awarded with ‘Player of the Match’ trophy.
However, every run which came off Ruturaj’s bat asked just one question – Did CSK skipper MS Dhoni made a mistake by not giving him enough chances in the playing XI?
Gaikwad, who has so far played five games in IPL 2020, failed to deliver in his first three games for CSK as he was out for a duck against Rajasthan Royals. The next two matches were not kinder as he got out for five against Delhi Capitals and a duck again vs Mumbai Indians.
Because of his struggling form, Dhoni quickly lost his patience with Ruturaj and like always, he showed faith in senior player as the CSK skipper was quick to replace the youngster with experienced batsman Faf du Plessis.
However, after scoring consistently in quite a few games, Du Plessis failed to contain his good form and flopped in crucial games. But the South African still remained the part of Dhoni’s plan even when the wicketkeeper-batsman could have replaced him with Ruturaj.
MSD did realise his mistake eventually, but it was too late by then as the CSK were already eliminated from IPL 2020.
Ruturaj’s battle with coronavirus
Before winning the battle against his poor form, Ruturaj won the bigger battle as he defeated coronavirus to return to the side.
Notably, Gaikwad was one of the members of the CSK contingent who tested positive for coronavirus in the first week upon arrival in Dubai. Due to this, he made a late entry into the playing XI of the team.
He had to spend two extra weeks of isolation at a quarantine facility in Dubai. He could only re-join the team after returning two negative tests for Covid-19.
Coming back stronger
Gaikwad beat the odds, struggled past the initial hiccups and got a win for his team in the games against Royal Challengers Bangalore and KKR.
Chasing a target of 146 against RCB on Sunday, Gaikwad was sent to open for his team and he didn’t disappoint as the Pune-born batsman went on to score 65 runs off 51 deliveries and won the Player of the Match award.
“It was tough for me, going quarantine for (more) days than the other guys,” Gaikwad admitted after collecting the Player of the Match award.
So, Could Ruturaj have made the difference if he was brought in earlier? Could he have saved the CSK’s campaign? Did Dhoni made a mistake by not trusting him and giving him enough chances?
Well, these are some of the questions which will haunt CSK and their fans for a long period of time and they are likely to remain unanswered. But, hopefully, three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings will learn from their mistakes and bounce back stronger in the next season of the cash-rich league.