After a year’s delay due to the pandemic, the Asian Games will take centerstage later this year. The men’s cricket competition, held in the T20 format, will take place from September 28 to October 8.
The 26-year-old was handed the responsibility even though he has never led an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise before. Gaikwad played under MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Team India men’s squad for the Asian Games 2023: Ruturaj Gaikwad (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tripathi, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Shivam Dube, Prabhsimran Singh (wk).
Gaikwad’s appointment has been met with quite a bit of anticipation. Here are three reasons why he is the right man to lead Team India in the Asian Games 2023.
#3 There aren’t any better alternatives in the squad
At 32, Rahul Tripathi is the oldest member of the squad. However, Ruturaj Gaikwad captains Maharashtra, and consequently Tripathi, on the domestic front.
The other options in the squad are young, up-and-coming cricketers without any significant leadership experience. Yashasvi Jaiswal only recently made his international debut, while Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma are uncapped.
Washington Sundar is another option, but the young all-rounder has missed large swathes of cricketing action recently and hasn’t been at the helm often enough.
The likes of Shahbaz Ahmed, as well as the bowlers, don’t inspire much confidence.
India needed to pick a skipper from their selected squad, and Gaikwad fits the bill quite well.
#2 Ruturaj Gaikwad has learned from the best
When MS Dhoni praises a cricketer, they’re probably special. After initial controversies involving the word “spark”, Dhoni has made it a point to talk up Ruturaj Gaikwad and give him plenty of opportunities to prove his worth.
Gaikwad has duly delivered. He has played pivotal roles in two trophy-winning IPL campaigns and has been part of the leadership group. The opening batter has anchored chases with calmness while also modeling his game to suit the needs of the team.
More importantly, Gaikwad has spent time under the wings of not just a legendary captain like Dhoni but also an established think tank such as the one at CSK.
The Men in Yellow know exactly what it takes to win and how to cultivate a team environment that gets the best out of the players.
Gaikwad has been an integral part of the Chennai setup over the last few years. He will have collected the knowledge to implement it at a higher level with Team India.
#1 Ruturaj Gaikwad has shown great promise while holding the reins in domestic cricket
Ruturaj Gaikwad has captained Maharashtra in domestic cricket and also skippered the Pune franchise in the recent Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) 2023. On both occasions, he has displayed an increase in individual returns.
He has often moved himself into the middle order even though he has had no real reason to do so, opening up opportunities for the other players to make hay. The 26-year-old also appears to be solid from a tactical standpoint.
Gaikwad has already shown signs of being a man who enjoys leadership and handles the responsibility in the right spirit. He could turn out to be a title-winning Indian captain in the Asian Games 2023.