IPL 2024: Ruturaj Gaikwad, prodigy and find of CSK, has big shoes to fill as captain (profile)

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Thursday named opener-batter Ruturaj Gaikwad as the successor of M.S. Dhoni as their captain, leaving him big shoes to fill as he takes over from a legend.

This is a huge decision both for CSK and their opener from Maharashtra as Gaikwad has to take the reins of a franchise nurtured by the Dhoni legacy. Every move of his will be watched minutely and compared to a legend, leaving Giakwad with a big task to fulfil.

CSK secured the services of Gaikwad at the IPL 2019 player auction and since then he hasn’t disappointed with the bat and will now lead the squad.

The team had gambled on Gaikwad as a player for the future in the IPL 2020 season using him as an anchoring opener who could attack when necessary. Making his IPL debut, CSK gave Gaikwad six matches, and he went on to score 204 runs with an impressive average of 51.00.

Gaikwad amassed an incredible 635 runs for champion Chennai Super Kings in 2021 as he left a big impression on Indian cricket fans, claiming the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs in the tournament.

It was the same year 2021, when Gaikwad broke the record of Murali Vijay to score the most runs in a season as CSK opener after hammering a maiden century against Rajasthan Royals. Vijay had scored 441 runs for CSK opening the innings in the 2009/10 season. The opener also became the youngest CSK batter, aged 25 then, to score a century in IPL. The previous record was also held by Vijay, who was 26 years old when he scored his first IPL hundred.

At the end of the 2021 season, Gaikwad scored 70 against Delhi Capitals in the qualifier and combined with Faf du Plessis for 61 in the final, leading CSK to 192, which proved to be ample.

A product of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s (PCMC) Varroc Dilip Vengsarkar Academy’ in Thergaon in Pimpri Chinchwad, near Pune, Gaikwad made his first-class debut for Maharashtra in 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season and made his List A and domestic T20 debut in the same year.

In 2023, he was hired by a Pune-based franchise for Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) for ₹14.8 crore for three years. The franchise was later named Puneri Bappa and they announced Gaikwad as their captain for the inaugural season.

Gaikwad has played 52 matches in his IPL career so far and scored 1797 runs, with an average of 39.07, with his highest IPL score being 101 not out. In the IPL Auction 2024, Chennai acquired him for Rs 6.00 crore.

Gaikwad was the captain of the Indian team that bagged the gold medal in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, last year. In November 2023, he was named the vice-captain for the first three matches of the T20I series against Australia.

However apart from all this success, it won’t be easy for Gaikwad to fill the shoes of Dhoni. A similar attempt by CSK to name Ravindra Jadeja as successor to Dhoni had failed a couple of seasons ago.

Only time will tell whether Gaikwad will succeed where Jadeja could not.



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