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'You Will Play the Next 3 Games Whether You Score a Run or Not' - MS Dhoni's Message to Ruturaj Gaikwad

MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad. Photo: IPL

MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad. Photo: IPL

Ruturaj Gaikwad revealed a conversation with Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni during the IPL 2020 that 'freed him up' mentally.

Ruturaj Gaikwad revealed a conversation with Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni during the IPL 2020 that ‘freed him up’ mentally. Gaikwad had a foregattble start to his IPL career, as he was down with COVID-19 before the start of the tournament. And then, he went on to make two ducks and a five in his first three chances with the bat.

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Gaikwad said Dhoni sensed his state of mind and assured him of a place in three consecutive matches towards the fag end of the season irrespective of his performance.

“I knew the challenges lying ahead in the MI game, and I had prepared to face the likes of Boult, (Jasprit) Bumrah and (James) Pattinson. But I think my dismissal kind of set the tone and we could never recover, getting bowled out for 110 odd (114 – 9),” Ruturaj Gaikwad told Sportstar.

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“I was blaming myself for getting out off the new ball and being unable to give the team the start. It reflected in the field. I never let a ball slip through the legs or drop a regulation catch, but it happened in the field. It reflected in the field that my confidence was low.

“Dhoni walked up to me and asked me if I was under pressure. He said, ‘We don’t want to pressurise you, but we have expectations from you. All I want to tell you is you are going to play the next three games without any doubt, whether you score a run or not. Try and enjoy these games and not think about performance.

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“He told me not to worry about ups and downs and to enjoy the performance. After that chat, my thought process changed. Till then, I was desperately thinking about stuff like when will I get my first boundary in the IPL or when will I have my first impact, even with a 15-20 run cameo.

“But after that conversation, it was a drastic change. I remember during that RCB game, I was only thinking about contributing to the team’s cause in that situation. I think the captain sensed my frame of mind, changed my thought process, and freed me up.”

Gaikwad then went on to make 65* off 51 against RCB, 72 off 53 against KKR and 62* off 49 against KXIP to become the first CSK batsman to make three successive half-centuries. He was also the Man of the Match in all three games, which CSK won, giving them hope of a better performance in the upcoming seasons.

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first published:November 12, 2020, 19:56 IST