IPL 2023: Pre-season camp key to our success, says Gaikwad

Four-time champions CSK put themselves in line for a fifth IPL title triumph after they stormed into the final with a 15-run victory over holders Gujarat Titans in the first Qualifier on Tuesday.

Published : May 24, 2023 12:04 IST , CHENNAI - 2 MINS READ

Chennai Super Kings batter Ruturaj Gaikwad during the IPL match against Delhi Capitals.
Chennai Super Kings batter Ruturaj Gaikwad during the IPL match against Delhi Capitals. | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

Chennai Super Kings batter Ruturaj Gaikwad during the IPL match against Delhi Capitals. | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad credited the work put in by the team during the pre-season camp in Chennai for its success as the four-time champion booked a place in the final of the IPL after its 15-run win over Gujarat Titans in the first qualifier on Tuesday.

“It (camp) was vital because a new surface was being laid in Chennai. Everyone was not sure how the wicket was going to be. You have to alter your game according to the pitch given that day. Sometimes, it’s slower, and sometimes it’s good [for batting]. So I think it was good to know how it would play,” said Gaikwad.

The opener, who top-scored with 60 - his fourth half-century of the season and second in as many matches - also said the team’s preparation behind the scenes started immediately after the previous IPL in which the Men in Yellow finished ninth.

“[It] started last year when we didn’t qualify. The management got something to work on, and there were things we needed to improve and put an effort into or add someone. Right from the first game, I think we were clinical and sure about who will play, who will not, and what will be our probable 12, 13 or 15. Everyone knew about their roles, and even when the Sri Lankans came – Theekshana and Pathirana – I think they were up to the mark from the first game,” he added.

After starting the season with two half-centuries, the 26-year-old went through a phase of ten innings in which he failed to convert starts, often getting out while trying to take the attack to the opposition.

When asked if it was a deliberate decision to be more aggressive and if it concerned him he was not converting those starts, Gaikwad said, “I think in 2021, if you look, Faf (du Plessis) had many 30s, 40s or 50s and he would just get out after 50s, and I mostly managed to score 70s, 80s and 100. So I think when someone is attacking from the other end, you have to ensure you stay till the 15th over.”

“This year, I felt that with the impact player rule, I had a good practice session about that mentality [playing shots early on and taking risks] for 15-20 days. So I think when I thought I was going well, I knew that (Devon) Conway would stay till the 15th over or carry the innings till the end. So I think I had the confidence in him, just like Faf had in me in 2021,” he explained.

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