Maharashtra and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener Ruturaj Gaikwad is hopeful of doing well in Sri Lanka, especially after getting batting tips from MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis in the CSK camp during the first half of IPL 2021.
From sharing the dressing room with his CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to running between the wickets with South African batting star Faf Du Plessis, Gaikwad picked up a bagful of cricketing tips. And the right-hander hopes to put them to good use if he gets a chance to be a part of the Indian playing XI on the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka.
Recalling getting tips from MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis in the CSK camp, Ruturaj said that Dhoni emphasized him being calm and relaxed, while Faf analyzed his game after the match was over.
"Faf doesn't speak much on the field. If I play a good shot, he will give a reaction. He comes, gives a fist pump. But after the match, he will ask several questions like how did I play that shot, etc. It's fun to bat with him in the middle," Gaikwad told TimesofIndia.com.
"Every time you see the presence of MS Dhoni and Faf or Suresh Raina, you feel confident and get a boost. Faf talks a lot about cricket. There are various topics he discusses. Mahi bhai has immense knowledge and he shares his experience with us.
Whenever I come back from the nets, if he is around, he tells me what my flaws are and suggests solutions. Mahi bhai's words encourage me a lot. I got a lot of batting tips from Mahi bhai and Faf and I am going to apply those on the Sri Lanka tour," he added.
The one lesson Gaikwad will always remember from Dhoni is to stay calm and relaxed when on strike.
"Mahi bhai emphasises more and more on being relaxed and staying calm while batting. He always tells me 'Tu enjoy kar game ko, pressure mat le, aur naturally khel (Just enjoy your game, don't take the pressure and play naturally).
He tells me - 'there will be a lot of things and talk that will happen around you when you play, just don't bother about those, just focus on your game. He is one player who openly supports his players. His support and guidance have given me a lot of confidence," the Maharashtra cricketer said.
Talking about his expectations from the Sri Lanka tour, Gaikwad said that he wants to take it one game at a time and do whatever captain Shikhar Dhawan asks him to do.
"Shikhar bhai (Shikhar Dhawan) is a gem of a person and a wonderful human being to be around. He has played international cricket for a long time now. He is a legend of the game. I am really happy to share the dressing room with him. It is going to be a huge learning experience for me to learn from Shikhar bhai. He knows the game in and out. I am really excited," the right-handed batsman said.
"I want to take it one game at a time. If Shikhar bhai asks me to open, I will. If he asks me to play in the middle order, I will be ready. I am ready to bat in any position. We just want to win the series in Sri Lanka. I am confident we will," the 24-year-old added.
(Times of India inputs)