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EXCLUSIVE | Ruturaj Gaikwad reveals MS Dhoni’s leadership lessons: ‘Being neutral and not getting too excited’ | Cricket News



NEW DELHI: Young skipper with big responsibilities—that’s how Ruturaj Gaikwad‘s maiden captaincy stint with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) can be defined. Ahead of IPL 2024, the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni passed the baton to Gaikwad, who has been one of CSK‘s most consistent batters.
The task was daunting, but a calm Ruturaj grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He had a sense of security with the 42-year-old Dhoni still behind the stumps, guiding him in decision-making, field placements, and tactical use of bowlers in various situations.
Despite Ruturaj’s inability to guide the five-time champions to the playoffs in IPL 2024, his debut as Dhoni’s successor earned him admiration as he showed promise that he will excel in the coming seasons.
Ruturaj’s team was eliminated from playoff contention after a crucial loss to Royal Challengers Bengaluru. CSK finished fifth with seven wins, seven losses, and 14 points, missing out on the final four due to an inferior net run rate.
“Felt good right from the start as it comes with responsibility and I like responsibility. As a captain I take up a balanced approach between both (batting and captaincy),” Ruturaj told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.

When Ruturaj stepped onto the field with a bat, he carried no burden of captaincy. He batted with the same ease and confidence instilled in him by the great Dhoni since his CSK debut. On the field, he was as calm as a cucumber.

Ruturaj emerged as CSK’s top run-scorer in the tournament, scoring 583 runs in 14 matches at an impressive average of 53.00. He maintained a strike rate of 141.16 and also notched up one century and four half-centuries.
Instructing senior players like Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ajinkya Rahane may seem daunting to some, but Ruturaj handled it with poise.
“I felt good right from the start (of the tournament). I am very approachable for all teammates whenever needed and they always support the team in whatever way the team requires.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult as all of them are very understanding. All the senior players that are a part of the team are great to be with. Their experience always helps with match situations,” Ruturaj said.

Ruturaj was CSK’s primary pick for captaincy, ensuring a seamless transition while Dhoni remained in the team.
Despite the weighty expectations set by Dhoni, who led the Yellow Army to five title triumphs (2010, 2011, 2018, 2021, and 2023), Ruturaj remained unfazed by his leadership responsibilities.
Instead, he expressed gratitude to CSK fans for accepting the change in the team’s leadership.
“Being neutral is something that I have learnt from Mahi bhai. Not getting too excited about anything or being down by anything is the right approach that I have picked up,” Ruturaj said.
“While batting irrespective of being captain or not, my approach is always the same. Doesn’t really change a lot. You cannot plan to become leaders so being good team players and putting the team first will always stand a good chance to be one,” the CSK skipper added.
On being asked about his association with Amrutanjan, Ruturaj said: “I’m extremely delighted to be partnering with Amrutanjan Healthcare for Electro+ Rehydrate. Hydration and maintaining energy levels are crucial, not just for athletes like me, but for everyone in their daily lives”.





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