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Why Ruturaj Gaikwad should not be in Chennai’s playing XI

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While Chennai have managed two wins in their opening three matches in the Indian T20 League this season, a young Ruturaj Gaikwad remains a loose end in a rather batting-heavy side.

The Chennai team has crossed the 180-run mark twice this season, but not once has the 24-year-old opener made a significant contribution. Ruturaj Gaikwad has scored a mere 20 runs in three innings at a measly average of 6.66, and while it is indeed early in the campaign, Chennai just cannot afford to test the waters.

Ruturaj Gaikwad for Chennai in the Indian T20 League: 2020 vs 2021
2020 Match 2021
0 1st match 5
5 2nd match 5
0 3rd match 10

It is, in fact, the same old story for Gaikwad in the Indian T20 League. In his debut season with the franchise, he had accumulated just five runs in his first three innings.  He did manage three fifties in the 2020 season but it came a little too late as Chennai was always chasing to get up the points table throughout the campaign.

The 24-year-old has developed a rather unfortunate trend in the league. Three of his six dismissals have come against left-arm pacers which includes the likes of Arshdeep Singh, Trent Boult and Mustafizur Rahman.

Ruturaj Gaikwad vs bowling style in Indian T20 League
Bowling Style Runs Scored Balls Wickets Average Strike Rate
Left-arm pace 11 13 3 3.67 85.62
Leg break 55 46 1 55.00 119.57
Off break 41 40 0 - 102.50
Right arm pace 115 93 2 57.50 123.66
Slow left-arm orthodox 2 4 0 - 50.00

A further breakdown reveals that Gaikwad averages a lowly 3.67 against left-arm pacers in the Indian T20 League, having scored just 11 runs in 13 balls against them.

Erratic starts and struggles with a right-left bowling combination mean Gaikwad is not particularly reliable.

Chennai can replace Ruturaj with Robin Uthappa. The 35-year-old, who was traded from Rajasthan ahead of the mini-auction in February, is a seasoned Indian T20 League veteran. 

Uthappa averages 27.92 in the league. Given the range of attacking shots he brings to the foray, Uthappa opening alongside Faf du Plessis can give Chennai the desired head start in the powerplay overs that they are desperately yearning for.

Gaikwad, however, may get one more chance as Chennai’s next match is against Kolkata, and they do not have a left-arm pacer in their squad.

Featured photo: Twitter / Ruturaj Gaikwad

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