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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 November 2023

Learnt a lot from Dhoni but I have my own leadership style: Gaikwad ahead of Asian Games cricket campaign

India will be favourites for another gold medal after the women's team had clinched the ultimate prize on September 25

PTI Hangzhou Published 02.10.23, 11:01 AM
Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad File picture

He has learnt a lot from the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni but Ruturaj Gaikwad on Monday said he will lean on his own leadership style as he prepares to lead the Indian men's team in its maiden Asian Games cricket campaign.

India will be favourites for another gold medal here after the women's team had clinched the ultimate prize a few days ago. Gaikwad and Co. will play their quarterfinal on Tuesday.

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Gaikwad, who has established himself as a vital cog in Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, said he would like to give players freedom to express themselves.

"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," Gaikwad told the media here ahead of India's first game.

"I will try to be myself and not really look at what he usually does. Obviously, yes you have to pick out some things which he does really well, how he handles situations and how he handles particular players during a match.

"Obviously, these are (a) few things I really took from him, but I would like to lead the way I want to. I just want the players to express themselves and give how much ever freedom that I can." India coach VVS Laxman said it would be a unique experience playing cricket in China.

"It is a much different setup," Laxman said. "We (would) have not even thought that we will come and play cricket in China. It is a great opportunity for the entire team.

"Participating in Asian Games is a big opportunity and a matter of great pride for all these players. I am really looking forward to this tournament." Gaikwad said the players are eager to win the gold medal like their women counterparts.

"Coming to the Asian Games, everyone is eager to win the gold for the country and stand up on the podium," he said.

"In cricket, we have the World Cup, the IPL and domestic tournaments. We are used to that kind of environment and situations. But coming here and going to the village, we really got to know about the athletes — what kinds of struggle they go through," he 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." Gaikwad said the Indian players cherished watching other athletes in action.

"It was a really great chance to see our country play across various sports such as badminton, tennis or even hockey. It was a matter of great pride. We enjoyed a lot cheering for our team," he said.

All matches of the Asian Games are accorded international status and Nepal setting several records against Mongolia also came up for discussion, especially the ground dimensions.

Gaikward said his players are used to all kinds of fields.

"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," he said.

"Growing up, usually playing on these kind of grounds and even (in) local cricket, many games, more than 100 games on these kind of grounds. I am sure everyone is used to it and will adapt."

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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