A below-par last season in the UAE tarnished their acclaimed record but the three-time champions Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, looked like their old self until the recent IPL edition came to a halt. The Chennai-based side is often labelled ‘Dad’s army’, given the fact that the average age of its squad remains on the higher side.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, however, underlined the bond which senior players share with the franchise. In an exclusive interaction with India TV, the talented opener cited Ambati Rayudu‘s example to describe the attachment of players towards the Chennai outfit.
“I think all internationally-retired players are emotionally attached to the CSK fans, players, and the management. As everyone knows, the last season wasn’t that good for CSK. So, for example, Ambati Rayudu came to CSK’s pre-season camp. He spent a lot of time in the nets, in fact, even more than me. He never missed a single day of practice,” said the 24-year-old, who has now become an integral part of CSK’s batting set-up.
“So, I think all the 30+ players who have retired from international cricket are very emotionally attached to CSK. They know what happened last year was unprecedented and so all of them are determined to perform in each and every game in 2021.
“I think no matter if you are playing or not, if you have the passion for a franchise or the captain, you will work hard and the results follow,” he further said.
Gaikwad, who scored three back-to-back fifties last year in the UAE, was impressive at the top during this season too. He joined forces with Faf du Plessis at the top and managed 196 runs in seven games including two half-centuries.
Gaikwad also spoke about his experience of opening the innings with du Plessis and receiving inputs from the ex-South Africa skipper. He even spoke about the extensive chats and discussions between skipper Dhoni and du Plessis.
“I’ve had many chats with du Plessis. When I had shaky starts, he told me to take time while he played aggressively at the other end. It’s been a great experience to bat with him and receiving inputs from someone who’s got so much experience is always beneficial.
They have discussions after the match where Faf reaches out to MS Dhoni with suggestions. Their talks go for an hour or even 2 hours sometimes. They also have discussions every day in practice. A lot of times, even Mahi Bhai reaches out to Faf during the match to ask for his advice,” he said.