Asian Games 2023: Inspired by Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad's leadership under focus ahead of India's campaign
Ruturaj Gaikwad, set to lead the Indian men's cricket team at the Asian Games, shares insights into his leadership style, influenced by the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni but uniquely his own.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, gearing up to lead the Indian men's cricket team in its inaugural Asian Games campaign, acknowledges the wisdom he's gained from the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, he's determined to embrace his distinctive leadership style. India, favourites for another gold medal after the women's team's recent triumph, is set to play their quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Gaikwad, a crucial part of Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, emphasizes his intention to grant players the freedom to express themselves. He expressed, "I got to learn a lot of things from him (Dhoni) but every person has a different style. His style is different, his personality is different, and my personality is a bit different. I will try to be myself and not really look at what he usually does."
While he acknowledges the valuable lessons from Dhoni on handling situations and players during matches, Gaikwad aims to lead in his own way, allowing players the maximum freedom possible.
India's coach, VVS Laxman, also highlights the uniqueness of playing cricket in China and expresses great pride in the team's participation in the Asian Games.
Gaikwad and his team are eager to emulate their female counterparts by securing the gold medal for their country. The visit to the Games' village left a lasting impact on the cricket players, as they gained a deeper appreciation for the struggles and dedication of athletes from various sports.
Reflecting on this experience, Gaikwad said, "Hardly (in) 2-3 years or four years (that) they get an opportunity to play for the country and represent it. We took a lot of pride from yesterday's visit (to the Games' village) and obviously got to know how special it is, obviously we do know but it just reflected a little bit more to represent the country."
The Indian cricket team also relished the opportunity to witness athletes from various sports in action, further igniting their sense of national pride.
Regarding the unique field dimensions at the Asian Games, Gaikwad assured that his players are accustomed to playing on various types of grounds. He stated, "Everyone, throughout their careers, be it domestic or anything (else), has gone through such dimensions on the cricket ground and I think they are all used to it."
The team eagerly anticipates the Asian Games cricket competition, ready to showcase their skills on a different stage and bring honour to their nation.