There many youngsters who harbour dreams of making it big in the world of cricket. From galli cricket to the 22-yards in a well-maintained stadium is the dream for many youngsters when they first hold the bat or bowl their first ball. And Indian cricket history is littered with examples of youngsters who made a place for themselves in the gentleman’s sport.
Chennai Super Kings’ Ruturaj Gaikwad is one of them.From the backyard of his housein Sanghvi, in Pune to international stadiums, Ruturaj Gaikwad’s cricket journey has been inspiring, and who other than his own parents to best tell the story of this budding cricketer. Graduating from the lower deck of Maharashtra Cricket Association (Under-16) to the big one of the world’s richest cricket league, Indian Premier League, Ruturaj has made his presence felt everywhere he held the willow.
A trainee from the Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in Pimpri, Ruturaj started playing when he was just six years, in his backyard. “I used to bowl and my daughter was the fielder when Ruturaj started playing behind our house. And that was where cricket in our family started all about,” said Savita Gaikwad, Ruturaj’s mother, a teacher by profession.“He has been playing the game since a young boy,” said his father Dashrath, a former employee of (Heavy Energy Machine Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pashan in Pune.
And little did we know that he would one day, thanks to the Indian Premier League, this Pune boy would be one of the upcoming stars of this 13th edition of IPL.
While Ruturaj is busy making his parents proud, his mother, Savita, can’t stay without talking to her son. “I spoke to him yesterday, not about cricket, but his well-being,” said Savita, who speaks to her son Ruturaj every day, who has been among runs in the last three outings of Chennai Super Kings.
Although Ruturaj’s team had a bad path this season, he did manage to make his presence felt nonetheless. “Sadly, his team could not make it to the knockout, but we are happy the same team helped him make inroads in this gentleman’s game,” Savita said.
The shy boy from Maharashtra has earned plaudits from none other than skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and emerged as the only silver lining with three half-centuries, in an otherwise disastrous IPL campaign for Chennai Super Kings. Cricket has been his first love for academics.
An outstanding student, Ruturaj did his schooling at St Joseph’s High School, in Kirkee, Pune. But due to the hectic cricket practice, he had to opt-out and completed his XI as an external student. Thanks to his mother, a teacher by profession, he passed with flying colours.Mohan Jadhav was his first coach, and it was Jadhav’s early coaching which saw Ruturaj graduate from lower tournaments to Maharashtra Ranji team.
The Invitation Cup innings proved to be a turning point in his journey. Ruturaj's greatest asset according to Jadhav is his ability of self-improvement and being able to assess his own game well enough.
Some other youngsters like Kartik Tyagi, Tushar Deshpande, Riyan Parag, Priyam Garg, and Abdul Samad, too left lasting impressions with the limited opportunities they got. And going forward they would carry the rich experience of playing against and with stalwarts in the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates.