In the absence of star players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, who are in the UK for the 2021 World Test Championship (WTC) final and a five-match Test series versus England, BCCI has recently picked many fresh faces for the upcoming white-ball tour to Sri Lanka, starting in mid-July.

Team India will play three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and as many T20 Internationals (T20Is) in the limited-overs series against the Islanders. Senior player Shikhar Dhawan has been appointed as the leader of the team, whereas frontline pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was named as his deputy.

As many as six cricketers have received maiden India call-up for the limited-overs series against the Islanders. These players are Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Krishnappa Gowtham, Nitish Rana, and Chetan Sakariya. They have been picked based on their domestic and Indian Premier League (IPL) performances.

Among the six players, Ruturaj is one such fellow who has played under the guidance of former India internationals Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. Dravid was the mentor of the India A team when Ruturaj was part of the squad two years back. Similarly, Dhoni is the captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL, and under his leadership, the Maharastra top-order batter has played a couple of seasons.

Now that Ruturaj is ready to don the prestigious blue jersey, he recalled a piece of advice MSD gave him, which helped raise his confidence and change the fortunes.

“He (Dhoni) said: ‘Make sure you enjoy the opportunities. If you’re putting pressure on yourself, you are adding it to yourself. We, as management, aren’t expecting anything; we just want you to go out there and enjoy for now and gain experience,” revealed Ruturaj while speaking to India Today.

Ruturaj remembered how the Ranch-born superstar had told him that he has the potential and capacity to go long. The 24-year-old expressed that Dhoni advised him to keep working hard and keep dreaming about wearing the India shirt.

“Not really we discussed (India hopes) but one or two times he has mentioned that I have the potential and I have the capacity. He said, ‘you don’t have to think about one particular tournament or one particular season. You have to think of playing for India; you have ample time. You have to keep thinking about it and how you are going to reach there and how you can sustain there’,” added Ruturaj.

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