Chennai Super Kings batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed how a chat with captain MS Dhoni helped him overcome his fear of failure in IPL 2020. He had scores of 0, 5 and 0 in his first three games before three consecutive half-centuries towards the end helped the Super Kings exit the tournament on a high.
Specifically, the Maharashtra batsman talked about his travails following Chennai’s 10-wicket thrashing at the hands of Mumbai Indians in Sharjah. “I knew the challenges lying ahead in the MI (Mumbai Indians) game, and I had prepared to face the likes of (Trent) 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,” Gaikwad told Sportstar.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was caught plumb in front for a five-ball duck by Trent Boult. – BCCI/IPL
Gaikwad was adjudged lbw for a five-ball duck off Boult’s bowling. CSK was 21 for 5, then 30 for 6 before being bundled out for 114 in that match. “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, after the post-match presentation, told Gaikwad that he was going to play the next three games regardless of how he performed. That freed up the 23-year-old, who eventually finished with 204 runs from six games at a strike-rate of 120.71. “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.
“Everyone in the camp realises the kind of phase you have been through and recovered from. Just try and enjoy your cricket without thinking about whether you will be able to play again for the team or not. Try and spend some really good time with the batsmen who are your teammates.””
Gaikwad was one of the “10-12 members of the Super Kings contingent” who tested positive in the first week of testing upon arrival in UAE and had to serve two weeks of isolation at a separate quarantine facility in Dubai.
Dhoni told Gaikwad he would come back as a “better person” having gone through so much. “Whenever you recover from it, you will be a tougher and better person. It may happen any time, may take some time, or even happen in the next match.”
“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 (Indian Premier League) 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 (Royal Challengers Bangalore) 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.”