Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Asian Games: Everyone is really eager to win gold for the country and stand up on the podium, says Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad, India’s captain for the men’s T20 competition in the Asian Games, said meeting various non-cricketing athletes at the games village made realise what it means to represent the country, making his side more focused towards winning the gold medal and stand on the podium.

Gaikwad will be captaining the Indian team at the Asian Games when they take on Nepal in the quarter-final clash on Tuesday, also marking the first time the men’s cricket team is participating in the multi-sport event.

“In cricket, we have the World Cup, the IPL and domestic tournaments, so we are used to that kind of atmosphere 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 and the dimensions of each sport.”

“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 got to know that how special it is — obviously we do know but it just reflected a yesterday little bit more to represent the country.Coming to the Asian Games, everyone is eager to win the gold for the country and stand up on the podium,” said Gaikwad in a video posted, in a chat with reporters at the Games village.

For the last few days, Gaikwad and other members of the team have been attending various sporting events in the Asian Games. “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 all enjoyed a lot cheering for our team. Participating in Asian Games is a big opportunity and a matter of great pride for all these players to see the emotions while watching matches. I am really looking forward to this tournament,” he added.

Talking about the learnings he has taken from his time under Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni, Gaikwad revealed, “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 little different. I will try to be myself, and not really look at what he usually does.”

“Obviously, yes you have to pick out some things that he does really well, how he handles situations and how he handles particular players during a match. These are the few things I have picked from him. I just want the players to express themselves, lead the way I want to and give how much freedom that I can.”

The matches will be held at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field in Hangzhou, China, where the Indian women’s team had won the gold medal in initial days of the competition. With the ground being small in dimensions, Gaikwad felt players will adjust to conditions and dimensions on match days.

“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. Growing up, we have been 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 pretty sure everyone is used to it and will adapt.”



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