DUBAI: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was all praise for Ruturaj Gaikwad on Thursday after the 23-year-old opener scored a second consecutive half-century to lead his team to victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash between the two sides at the Dubai International Stadium.
"We'd seen him in the nets, but then he turned Covid positive and it took him 20 days to get back. Unfortunate, but he'll remember this season," said Dhoni in the post-match presentation ceremony in which Gaikwad won his second Player of the Match award on the trot.
"He's one of the most talented players around. What makes it difficult is he's not somebody who speaks a lot. So sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player. Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants.
"When we made him play the first game, he got out after stepping out. It was difficult to tell whether it was pressure that made him step out or whether that's his natural game. One ball isn't enough," Dhoni said.
Maharashtra batsman Gaikwad scored 72 as CSK beat KKR by six wickets on Thursday. In their previous match, he had scored an unbeaten 65 to lead his team to victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore.
While CSK have been ruled out of contention for the playoffs, Dhoni said that it is important to stay relevant in the tournament.
"We haven't performed in the tournament but we felt it's important to be relevant. That's what we kept telling the guys. We said you prepare how you want to, but three to three-and-a-half hours during the match, give your best. We are not in the position to qualify (for the playoffs), but there're plenty of takeaways," he said.