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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

India vs England, 5th Test: Carved from dad's dreams, Dhruv Jurel a jewel in MS mould  

A Kargil war veteran, Nem Singh is relishing the adulation and spotlight at often being recognised as 'Dhruv Jurel's father'

Indranil Majumdar Dharamsala Published 06.03.24, 09:20 AM
Dhruv Jurel

Dhruv Jurel File image

Life can offer abrupt twists and turns and Nem Singh Jurel has seen enough of it to be swayed by success and failure. But the retired Havaldar in him hasn't yet got used to the instant stardom son Dhruv has brought to his family.

Life has changed a bit in the last fortnight since Dhruv made his Test debut in Rajkot. His phone barely stops ringing, he's being inundated with requests for TV shows and any post on social media by his son is drawing huge attention within seconds.

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A Kargil war veteran, Nem Singh is relishing the adulation and spotlight at often being recognised as "Dhruv Jurel's father".

But fame is gradually catching up with him. He seemed a little guarded in revealing Dhruv's whereabouts when he visited their home at Noida during the break between the Ranchi and Dharamsala Tests to keep a check on the stream of visitors and acquaintances.

He missed Dhruv's debut but is hoping to make it to the final Test.

"The message from Dhruv came a bit late and I couldn't arrange flight tickets at such short notice. But I hope to reach Dharamsala to be present at the ground for at least a couple of days... However, I haven't decided when to go... Could be Thursday," Nem Singh told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Dhruv, 23, has already ushered dreams to the extent that Sunil Gavaskar has compared his “presence of mind” to former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The way he gathered a wayward throw and ran out Ben Duckett in Ranchi and rightly assessed DRS calls have already started to give the "Dhoni feels"

Then came his gritty batting — a solid 46 in Rajkot was followed match-winning innings of 90 and 39 not out in the fourth Test. He exhibited all virtues of Test cricket: application, temperament, discipline and right shot selection.

The Englishmen too were impressed. Ben Stokes went on to joke about England's wicketkeeper-batter, Ben Foakes, having a 'man crush' on Dhruv.

But Jurel Sr knows it's all about keeping feet firmly on the ground. "I always wanted him to do something for the country. Nothing can beat this feeling," Jurel Sr said.

Dhruv's salute after completing his maiden half-century was in keeping with his father's wish. "I am from the Army and he knows what discipline means to me... He has seen me in my uniform during his childhood. He always had it at the back of his mind," Nem Singh said. "But it was not just for me. It was a tribute to the country and the Indian Army."

The lure of playing in the T20 World Cup will also excite the youngster since uncertainty looms over Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul. There's already talk that both Rishabh Pant and Dhruv could be accomodated in the playing XI once the former is back in the scheme of things.

Adaptability to every format makes him special, says former junior national chief selector Gyanendra Pandey during whose tenure Dhruv played the U-19 World Cup. "He has always been like this... compact batting, matured and never undone by the circumstances," said Pandey.

“He will be good in the shortest format too. His ability to strike cleanly from ball one is impressive. I know him well having seen his transformation from close qaurters."

Achieving instant stardom and then fading from memory isn't new in Indian cricket. Dhruv has to keep a still head and, in his father's words, "keep feet firmly in ground".

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