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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Wishing debutant no. 312 Dhruv Jurel all the best


Today at Rajkot in Test no. 2530, Rohit Sharma won the toss, elected to bat and finished the day in a reasonably commanding position. 

Today there were two debutants and the middle order looked fresh and fragile.  In 2019  India beat Bangladesh by six wickets with eight balls to spare in the final of the U-19 tri-nation series.  In the 9th  of 2023 IPL at Guwahati, this man walking in raised eye-brows !! 

Wicket keeping is a Specialist job – in 1975 Pongal Test – Viv Richards was caught behind of Erapalli Prasanna and Clive Lloyd was stumped in a flash off Prasanna – Farokh Engineer whipping off the bails with Clive Lloyd’s foot over the line was brilliantly captured in The Hindu photo which I preserved for ages (not available now !) 

The flamboyant opener who appeared in Brylcream and other advertisements Farokh Engineer was the trusted keeper for the famous spin quartet for long.  Had heard name of another wicket keeper P Krishnamurthi who in fact toured WI in 1971 as Engineer’s understudy and remained understudy in 1976 tour too.  Then came Syed Kirmani whose heroics were part of 1983 WC.  However in 1979 WC it was Surinder Khanna (who never played in Tests) and TN’s famous keeper Bharat Reddy who played during England tour.  When Kapil led a team to WI in 1983 Kiran More was a surprise choice.  In 1985, downunder Sadanand Vishwanath was flashy but faded out sooner.  Even when Kiran More was a regular, Chandrakant Pandit got his chances and played even as a pure batsman !! – other keepers who came in line were  : Vijay Yadav, Nayan Mongia,  MSK Prasad, Saba Karim, Vijay Dahia, Sameer Dighe, Deep Das Gupta, Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik , irrepressible MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha,  Rishab Pant, Sreekar Bharat and today another one !!  

On the first day of the third Test, India's batting finally came together but not without an early alarm. Down at 33 for 3 on a pitch that was full of runs and with two debutants to follow, India were looking at possible trouble. A 204-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja for the fourth wicket - India's first century stand of the series - took them to 326 for 5 at stumps. Rohit and Jadeja got centuries while debutant  Sarfaraz Khan made a sparkling 62 off 66, before being run-out.  

Tomorrow the other debutant India’s wicketkeeper batsman Dhruv Jurel would get a chance and hope that he would perform well.  

In 2019, India cruised home in the final of the tri-nation Under-19s tournament in Hove, with eight balls to spare, a win set up by their top order comprising Yashasvi Jaiswal, Divyaansh Saxena, and Priyam Garg, who all struck fifties chasing 262. Garg top scored for his side and was ably assisted by wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, who chipped in with a 73-ball 59 not-out, adding 109 runs for the fourth wicket with his captain. Garg departed with India U-19s only 27 shy of victory, leaving Jurel to shepherd their side to the target in the company of Tilak Varma, who sealed the chase with a four. 

On Apr 5 2023, in the 8th match at Guwahati,  then  22-year-old Dhruv Jurel walked out to bat as an Impact Player in his debut IPL game, with  questions on  why Rajasthan Royals sent him in ahead of a seasoned international like Jason Holder. Royals needed 74 off 30 balls at the time against Punjab Kings and he had only three T20s worth of experience . They eventually fell five runs short with Jurel unbeaten on 32 off 15 balls, an innings full of eye-catching stroke play.   

Jurel's journey to the IPL has not been straightforward. He was five years old when his left leg came under the tyre of a bus in Agra and required plastic surgery. He wanted to join the Indian Army, much like his father Nem Singh Jurel, a Kargil war veteran, before cricket became his ambition.  Jurel played two unofficial Tests in South Africa for India A, registering a duck in the first game before scoring a dogged 69 in the second. He was playing a tour match against England Lions when he got the news of his maiden call-up.


Wishing debutant no. 312  Jurel all the best
With regards – S Sampathkumar
15th Feb 2024

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