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Ruturaj Gaikwad - The Method to his Madness

By: Sahil Malhotra

Cricketnext

Last Updated: December 01, 2022, 10:37 IST

New Delhi, India

Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad has put on a freak show in his last two appearances for Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022 but it’s the method in his batting which has taken centre stage.

With his second hundred on the trot and third of the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022, Ruturaj Gaikwad leapfrogged into the fourth position in the leading run-getters table. The 25-year-old’s 168 vs Assam in the semi-final took his tally to 552 from just four innings. Gaikwad has put on a freak show in his last two appearances for Maharashtra but it’s the method in his batting which has taken centre stage. Yes, there was a double hundred vs Uttar Pradesh in the quarterfinal but it wasn’t a slam-bang approach from the word go, in both the hundreds. A watchful start precedes intent vs spin and then it’s just straight and big. Very much in the V.

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Against Assam, it was a “mila ke khelna” (a slang used in cricketing circles for playing correctly) start as he waited for the loose balls and didn’t show the urge to press the accelerator early in the innings. The cover drives were as elegant as they could get, short and wide were put away with disdain and anything on the pads was sent to the ropes in a hurry. The team total read 93/1 in 19.5 overs when Gaikwad brought up his fifty off 56 balls. There was no sense of urgency in the eight boundaries hit but what followed next was something which we have seen in the IPL too in the past and in the game against Uttar Pradesh, where he hit 220*.

Wagon wheel of Gaikwad’s innings. Image credit: Bcci.tv

Gaikwad exploded, and how.

“How” is the keyword here. Again, there was the proper method and no madness about his approach in this crucial period of the game. In a 50-over tie, the period from 20-35 overs can swing momentum multiples times and it’s a phase which every side wants to boss to maintain a good grip on the contest. Maharashtra lost Satyajeet Bachhav for 41 in the 22nd over and Ankit Bawne’s arrival injected urgency into the innings.

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Severe against spin

It was a batting-against-spin masterclass on display as Gaikwad effortlessly went about scoring runs, mostly in the V. Batting is mostly a reactive process and the right-hander was very pleasing to the eye as he found gaps with precision and cleared ropes with ease. The focus was mostly on timing as he showed intent against the spinners. Inside outs, lofted hits over the bowler’s head and powerful pulls towards the mid-wicket region highlighted his second half of the innings where he scored runs at a brisk rate. The opener’s next fifty runs came off just 32 balls and it included three beautiful sixes.

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The third half of the innings had intent written all over it as he went after everything and succeeded. The next 68 runs came off just 38 balls, and even the seamers weren’t spared this time around. He finally miscued a Riyan Parag delivery while looking to hit his seventh six of the innings and a brilliant catch by Saahil Jain at long-on ended the masterclass. 168 runs off 126 balls, 18 boundaries and 6 sixes.

Similar template vs UP

He followed a similar template in the game against UP. It was a very good seam attack featuring the likes of Ankit Rajpoot, Shivam Mavi and Kartik Tyagi. Spinners Shiva Singh and Shivam Sharma too are known to be very accurate and have enjoyed a lot of success in their career.

There were plenty of oohs and aahs early in the fixture as UP seamers did make the ball talk and kept the Maharashtra batters under check. They were 29/1 after 10 overs and Gaikwad had only managed 18 runs off the 35 balls he faced.

The right-hander looked busy the moment spin was introduced into the attack. UP skipper Karan Sharma rotated his spinners with Kartik Tyagi and even rolled his arm over to rush in a few overs. Gaikwad used the period to get himself set and then made most of the drop, while he was batting on 49. He brought his fifty (off 72 balls) with a six, 100 (109 balls) with a six, 200 (153 balls) with a six and stormed into record books.

Most of the big hits came in the V for Gaikwad against UP. Image credit: BCCI.tv

Against UP, the seven consecutive sixes off Shiva Singh caught most of the attention and the overall approach in the second half of the innings kind of took a backseat. Like the Maharashtra fixture, the bulk of the scoring vs done against spin and it certainly didn’t turn out to be a memorable fixture for left-arm spinner Shiva.

Action now shifts to the title clash featuring Maharashtra and Saurashtra. All eyes will be on how the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya operate against a formidable Maharashtra batting unit featuring Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ankit Bawne and Rahul Tripathi.

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first published:December 01, 2022, 10:21 IST
last updated:December 01, 2022, 10:37 IST
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