Dubai: It was his IPL for sure! 24-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad was one of the biggest reasons behind CSK winning their fourth IPL title. He amassed 635 runs and ended the season as the highest run-getter in the IPL and became the youngest to win the Orange Cap. It is a season the young opener would remember for a long time.

Ex-India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar – who has seen him from close quarters – recalled how Gaikwad made a mark at the age of 10. “He came to our Pune academy when he was 10. We choose players for our academy (based on ability), we just don’t get everybody. So, he was one of those young players we chose because he had excellent skills,” Vengsarkar told Khaleej Times.

Vengsarkar also recalled taking him to England when 16 and scored hundreds in most of the games.

“I also took him to England when he was around 16. I take my academy team to England every year to Lancashire. We play 10 matches every year. He scored hundreds in most of the games, and he scored big hundreds, the 160s, 170s,” he added.

Praising young Gaikwad’s strong mind and his game, Vengsarkar feels it is time he gets his chance and is drafted into the Indian team.

“He has the game and he is mentally strong. The selectors must give him an opportunity. When you pick a guy who is in form, it helps. He is also young. If the selectors are convinced about his talent and temperament, then he should be picked straight away.”