Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad recalled the day when his skipper MS Dhoni drew curtains on a 16-year-old international career and said that the news took a while to sink in.
Dhoni and Suresh Raina were together in Chennai at the CSK training camp when they bid adieu to international cricket. The franchise had even shared a video where Raina was coming back from a training session before he and Dhoni were congratulated by members of the camp.
In an exclusive interaction with India TV, Ruturaj remembered the day and told how everyone was left stunned by Dhoni’s decision.
“Last year on 15th August, we were practicing in Chennai before heading to Dubai. Around 6:30, we wrapped up the practice and headed to have dinner. Suddenly, someone said that Mahi bhai has announced his retirement. We had no idea or discussion that he was going to announce his retirement,” said the youngster.
“I didn’t have the courage to go and ask him about his retirement. I was still in shock by his sudden retirement. It took 2-3 days for the news to sink in,” he added.
Ruturaj, who is now a crucial part of CSK’s batting set-up, also said that Dhoni doesn’t put any restrictions on what his teammates consume. “Mahi bhai doesn’t put any diet restrictions in the CSK camp. He says ‘I just want 100 percent effort from you on the field’. He has seen me eating sweets a lot of times. He just says ‘you can eat these sweets if your body type allows it’.
“I’ve never seen him angry. Of course, he gets angry on the field but it’s just a heat-of-the-moment thing. I’m also a cool-headed person and I don’t get angry very easily,” he said.
Gaikwad also talked about overcoming COVID-19 last year in the UAE and eventually finishing the season on a high. “It’s a bit difficult when you’re in your room for 14 long days. You get a bit anxious… you get doubts over your future and it’s a bit tough. We should find ourselves a way through it.
“In the first two games, I felt weakness. I remember sleeping over 12-14 hours after the match. I was also feeling tired and the weakness was there for a couple of matches. It was back to normal after my body got used to it,” said the 24-year-old.
The Maharashtra opener, just like every other youngster, dreams to don to the India jersey soon but focuses on the process, not the results.
“I don’t pay much attention to the selection process as it is out of my hand. Under Mahi bhai, I’ve learned to focus on things that are under your control, like your fitness and training process. The goal is to just keep delivering match-winning performances in every game.
“Every professional cricket dreams to play for India one day. I’ll be happy if I get the opportunity to wear the national jersey soon,” he concluded.