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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

India vs England: War veteran's son Dhruv Jurel fights it out in Ranchi Test

On a pitch where the ball kept perilously low at times, Jurel was rock solid in defence, focused on strike rotation and at the same time took no half-measures whenever the opposition bowlers dished out anything loose or ill-directed

Sayak Banerjee Ranchi Published 26.02.24, 11:49 AM
Dhruv Jurel during his crucial innings of 90 on Sunday

Dhruv Jurel during his crucial innings of 90 on Sunday PTI

Ahead of this fourth Test, Dhruv Jurel, in an interview to bcci.tv, had expressed his desire to perform before Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the former India captain’s hometown.

Dhoni didn’t turn up in the three days of action so far at the JSCA International Stadium. But had he been present, he certainly would have lauded Jurel for the effort the young keeper-batter put in with the bat in trying circumstances that eventually turned out to be game-changing.

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On Saturday, after Jurel’s arrival at the crease, India had lost Sarfaraz Khan and Ravichandran Ashwin in a space of just six runs, wobbling at 177/7 and still trailing England by 176 runs. England were on the ascendancy then, but this 23-year-old youngster, son of Kargil war veteran Nem Chand, fought the tough situation with excellent composure and temperament.

On a pitch where the ball kept perilously low at times, Jurel was rock solid in defence, focused on strike rotation and at the same time took no half-measures whenever the opposition bowlers dished out anything loose or ill-directed. Something Dhoni used to do with near-perfection.

Getting able assistance from his Uttar Pradesh teammate Kuldeep Yadav in their vital 76-run eighth-wicket stand, Jurel, who has performed for his state and India ‘A’ (averaging 46.44 in 16 first-class appearances so far) in recent times, produced a brilliantly-compiled 90 that helped India regain some much-needed momentum on Day III of the Test before their spinners bundled England out for a paltry total (145) in the second innings.

“It’s just his second Test, but Dhruv showed excellent maturity out there in the middle. Jigar se khela usne (He played with a lot of courage). Though the situation was tough, he ensured not to spare any loose ball. That’s what positive cricket is,” Jurel’s personal coach Phoolchand Sharma told The Telegraph on Sunday.

Jurel has developed his skills training at the Wonders Cricket Club in Noida — the academy run by Sharma, which has produced the likes of Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shivam Mavi. Training Jurel since he was only 14 years old, Sharma emphasised the seriousness with which Jurel used to approach the nets sessions.

“His focus would be to remain not out even at nets. That too has been another contributing factor behind his progress,” Sharma stated.

“When he got chosen in the squad for this series, I just told him, ‘Wait for your opportunity and look to utilise the maturity you have gained from your Ranji Trophy and India ‘A’ experiences.’

At present, his confidence level while batting as well as wicketkeeping is getting reflected.”

Former India keeper-batter Deep Dasgupta said: “His wicketkeeping and composure aside, Jurel also seems to be a good back-foot player. That’s going to be useful in Australia (in the 2024-25 series).”

Preparation matters

In terms of Jurel’s preparation, visualising and noting down how opposition bowlers operate are among the integral parts of Jurel’s preparation. “It’s mostly about visualising.

“Before this series, I tried to note down where people like (James) Anderson, Mark Wood and (Tom) Hartley land the ball so that I can take them on accordingly,” Jurel said.

Acknowledging being under a bit of pressure, something a debut series brings along with, Jurel has no regrets on missing out on a maiden international century. “Going out to bat, I only thought about the team’s need. The focus was only on scoring... Just watched the ball and played.

“No regrets at all on missing out on a hundred though... It’s only my first series and my lookout is to hold the winners’ trophy as it has been a childhood dream of mine to play Test cricket,” Jurel said.

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