With the Indian Premier League at its peak and the U 19 World Cup finally getting the attention it deserves, it has become a little easier for youngsters to announce themselves to the world. But amidst all new platforms for Indian youngsters, a certain Ruturaj Gaikwad is proving himself in an old-fashioned way, churning out runs in the domestic circuit and List A Cricket.
Date of Birth
31 January 1997
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Teams Played for
India A, Chennai Super Kings
Ruturaj Gaikwad Biography
Pune might just be 150 km away from Mumbai, but it has hardly followed the City of Dreams in creating cricket superstars. Kedar Jadhav is the only name that comes to the mind. But we might have to add Ruturaj Gaikwad to that list soon.
Born on 31 January 1997 to Savita and Dashrath Gaikwad. Ruturaj started playing leather ball cricket by the age of 5. Ruturaj went to watch a game between New Zealand and Australia in Pune’s Nehru Stadium in 2003. Watching Brendon McCullum scoop Aussie fast bowlers hooked the six-year-old kid to the sport.
However, promising talent might be, every athlete needs guidance to access their full potential. And that is what Ruturaj got when he joined Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in Pune at the age of 11. He soon moved up to play in Maharashtra U 14 and U16 teams.
The Vengsarkar academy still plays an important role in his development, welcoming him to train whenever he requires. “I would like to also thank my academy, Vengsarkar Cricket Academy, which is, located in the PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad) area,” Ruturaj says.
“I’ve been there since the last 9-10 years, right since the age of 11. They’ve always been supportive and encouraging. Even today, they oblige whenever I request them to let me practice.”
Ruturaj Gaikwad Career
Ruturaj grabbed the spotlight in his during his U 19 days, finishing the second-highest scorer in the 2014-15 Cooch Behar Trophy. He scored 826 runs in 6 games with three centuries, and a half-century.
The same season he scored a 522 run partnership in Maharashtra Invitation Tournament in 2015, scoring a triple century in the game. His performances helped him to get selected in the India U 19 probables for the 2016 U 19 Cricket World Cup.
Despite that setback, Ruturaj proved himself in the domestic circuit to get to where he is now. The following Cooch Behar Trophy season, Ruturaj impressed again as he scored 4 hundred and 3 fifties while tallying 875 in 7 matches.
Ruturaj made his first-class debut for Maharashtra’s Ranji team in 2016-17, at the age of 19. His Ranji debut was cut short after being hit with Varun Aaron’s delivery in the match against Jharkhand. He had to undergo surgery, resulting in him missing the Ranji season.
After 8 weeks of recuperation, Ruturaj came back in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, playing just one match. The following season Ruturaj declared his calibre as an ODI opening batsman. The youngster scored 132 off just 110 deliveries against Himachal Pradesh, his maiden List A century.
He was Maharashtra’s best batsman in the tournament with 444 runs in his first 7 matches at an average of 63 – All that is a debut season! Ruturaj became a regular in Maharashtra’s Ranji team for the next season and went on to score 342 runs in 10 games.
Also Read | The Surreal rise of Yashasvi Jaiswal to stardom
However, his limited-overs format game took a slight hit and his form dipped, in comparison to the last season. Failing to convert his starts, Ruturaj scored 330 runs in 7 games in the 2017-18 Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The 2018-19 domestic season was the turning point for Ruturaj, as his performances in both Ranji and Vijay Hazare Trophy opened the doors of India A for the youngster. Ruturaj scored 456 runs in 11 Ranji Games and 365 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He got an opportunity to play with and against India’s finest after being named in the India B squad for the Deodhar Trophy. Ruturaj failed to capitalise on an opportunity in the first game but played a stylish inning of 60 in the final against India C.
India A, Ruturaj A+
Ruturaj scored a century against England Lions in January 2019 playing for Board President’s XI. This inning helped him get in India A squad for the very first time in June 2019 for the ODI series against Sri Lanka A.
And boy, did he deliver in his first series with India A! Ruturaj scored 187* off just 136 balls in the first game and followed it with 125* in the second game. The opener scored 470 runs in four innings in the bilateral series at the strike rate of 130!
Despite his extraordinary performance against Sri Lanka, Ruturaj was initially not named for India A’s tour of West Indies. But, ‘Fortune favours the brave!’ Prithvi Shaw was ruled out with an injury and Ruturaj hopped on the first flight to the Caribbean. This was his first tour with India A.
And we are all aware of his heroics on the Caribbean island. Ruturaj scored 207 runs in four innings at an average of 51. The youngster scored two fifties and missed a century in the last game by just one run.
Currently, the Indian national team has an overload of openers. And is a victim of just that. However, the right-handed batsman has pretty decent experience while playing down the order.
Ruturaj has continued to shine with India A despite not getting a national call-up yet. Currently, the Maharashtrian opener is touring New Zealand with India A, scoring 93, 17 and 44 in three innings.
Ruturaj Gaikwad IPL
The successful 2018-19 in the domestic circuit was just the start of Ruturaj’s success story. With a bagful of runs in both white and red-ball cricket, he was selected for the 2018 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup.
Ruturaj blew hot and cold in the tournament, scoring 119 runs in 4 innings with just one half-century. However, Ruturaj’s domestic performances helped him get his first contract in the IPL as Chennai Super Kings bought the youngster for 2019 season for ₹20 lakh.
Ruturaj never expected him to be picked. “After the first round for uncapped players, I switched off the TV and turned on my Playstation,” he says. “My number was 80-odd, and suddenly from 75, it jumped to 110. So I thought my chance was gone.
“After some time, I started getting messages. That’s how I found out about my selection. My parents were out of town and returned later that night. It was only when a friend came home with a cake that they actually believed I had been picked,” he added.
MS Dhoni has even praised the young lads’ tactical awareness, terming him as a sharp cricket mind. During an IPL game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the then 21-year-old goes to MSD and says: “Mahi Bhai, Andre Russell doesn’t play the scoop or the paddle. We could have removed the short fine-leg and put a deep square-leg instead.”
His statement was true! Each of Russell’s 5 fours and 3 sixes during his unbeaten 50 innings were hit between the long-off and deep square-leg,’ and not a single behind the wicket.
Although he did not play any games throughout the tournament, Ruturaj won’t be complaining about that after sharing the dressing room with the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Shane Watson, and Faf du Plessis for almost two months.
Ruturaj Gaikwad Stats
Ruturaj was born in a family which values academics highly. His father is a Defence Research Development Officer, while his mother teaches in a municipal school. Growing in a joint family, Ruturaj grew up with many cousins, none of whom participated in sports. Despite all of that, Ruturaj’s family played an important role in making him the player he is today.
“My family has been the core of my support system so far in this journey. They’ve been so supportive of my ambitions right since the time I began playing cricket. They’ve never asked me to focus more on studies and less on cricket, even during times that I haven’t been performing with the bat.”
Sometimes, not playing in the IPL can be a blessing. Ruturaj, unlike most of the youngsters these days, does not believe in pinch-hitting. In fact, he has an elegant batting technique with neat footwork where he uses the crease to his advantage. Especially his inside out shots, a rare sight for right-handers these days, are treat to the eyes.
Ruturaj is also an exceptional fielder and here is a proof of that.
The youngster has arrived in style and he is here to stay. Agreed, Team India has absolutely no place for yet another opener in the side. But Ruturaj didn’t stop after not getting selected in the U 19 side and he won’t stop now either. With age on his side, brilliant technique and a champion’s willpower, see you in the Indian team very soon Ruturaj!
- Ruturaj Gaikwad began his cricketing career at the age of 12 at the Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune.
- He was India’s second-highest run-scorer in the Cooch Behar Trophy for 2 back to back years.
- Ruturaj Gaikwad loves to play Tennis and would want to give a go at the sport if not for cricket.
- Chennai Superkings during the 2019 IPL player auction at his base price of INR 20 Lakhs.
- Gaikwad is a part-time off-spinner as well.