Pune. Ruturaj Gaikwad, the first-time opener selected for the Indian team, said on Friday that he would repose confidence in his ability to adapt quickly to the conditions in the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. The 24-year-old from Maharashtra is one of the six new faces in the 20-man squad selected by Shikhar Dhawan for a series of three ODIs and as many T20Is on the tour of Sri Lanka from July 13 to July 25. The players included in the Indian team for the first time for this series are – Gautam, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Chetan Sakaria.
Ruturaj Gaikwad said after the practice session, “I am very happy. From the moment I came to know about it, the journey of my career came before my eyes, where did I start my journey and where do I want to reach. I am full of emotions right now.” He said, “You think of the people who have supported you throughout the journey, be it my parents, friends or coaches. So obviously there is a feeling of pride for all and a matter of happiness for all.
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Gaikwad’s core strength is to adapt to any situationThe right-handed batsman averages over 47 in 59 List A matches and has a strike rate of over 130 in the T20 format. Gaikwad feels that adapting to any situation in the game is his “core strength”. He said, “My strength is to play according to the requirement of the team whether it is aggressive or according to the situation. Sometimes it has to be ensured that the team comes out of difficult situations. I am adaptable to both offensive and defensive positions, which I think is my strength.
Gaikwad wants to reunite with Rahul Dravid again
The youngster, who has grown rapidly after achieving success with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, said that he would like to reunite again with Rahul Dravid, who will be the head coach of the team. Dravid has previously coached the Indian Under-19 and A teams. He said, “There will be limited opportunities on this tour, but I am looking forward to learn as much as I can from this visit. The team has experienced players and obviously I will get a chance to associate with Rahul sir once again.
‘My biggest goal is to win for my country’
He said, “India A’s last tour was about a year and a half ago, so there will be an opportunity to meet and talk to him (Rahul Dravid) once again. So it’s a lot more than performance and scorecard figures.” He said, “Obviously if I get a chance, hopefully I can give my best and win matches for India. My biggest goal is to win for the Indian team or my country.” Gaikwad has shared the dressing room in the Chennai Super Kings team with legends like Faf du Plessis and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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‘Whatever Mahi bhai says, he deserves to be followed’
He said, “If I talk about Mahi bhai, obviously whatever he says, it is always worth following. I heard he talked about me in the post-match presentation. I don’t talk much with him, he knows that I am a quiet and shy player.” He said, “Whenever Dhoni felt that I am under pressure, he used to come first to me and say that there is nothing to worry about. No matter.”
Ruturaj Gaikwad can now join the list of great Maharashtra cricketers like Chandu Borde and Kedar Jadhav, who played for India. He said that Jadhav has played an influential role in his journey. “Kedar (Jadhav) has been with me since the beginning of my journey, ever since my first-class career began and I think he has been very influential throughout the journey. He has always encouraged me.”