back icon


Dhruv Jurel's knock in a league of its own

article_imageMATCH STORIES
Last updated on 25 Feb 2024 | 09:01 AM
Google News IconFollow Us
Dhruv Jurel's knock in a league of its own

Jurel vindicated the selectors & the management's eye for talent with one of the most important knocks of the series

India have had quite a few debutants in this series. Rajat Patidar ushered Madhya Pradesh to their maiden Ranji Trophy title in 2021/22, averaging 82.3 in the season. Sarfaraz Khan has been the most prolific run-scorer in domestic red-ball cricket for a while. Akash Deep has been the highest wicket-taking pacer for Bengal since his debut in December 2019. 

Dhruv Jurel, one of the four debutants for India, had no such accolades to his name from domestic cricket. He had played only 15 first-class games before his Test debut in Rajkot. He had 790 runs at a decent average of 46.5, including a solo hundred - 249 against Nagaland. 

It won’t be wrong to say that the 23-year-old was fast-tracked into the Test side based on the selectors’ and the management’s eye for talent. That is what got him picked for the India A side that toured South Africa last year. 

On Day 3, the Agra-born vindicated the faith shown in him. Batting at seven, Jurel scored a vital 90 that could decide the outcome of the series.

The wicketkeeper-batter walked in to bat on Day 2 when England were at the top of the game. Yashasvi Jaiswal, India’s best batter of the series, had just gotten out. India had scored only 30 runs in 8.4 overs in the session. India were stuck, trying to fight their way through but without moving forward in the game at all. 

Jurel ended Day 2 on 30 not out from 57 balls and looked the most assured batter for India in that session, scoring at a false shot percentage of only 5.2%. 

On Day 3, he was India’s only hope to get as close to England’s first innings score as possible. Jurel added 60 more to his tally off 92 balls. And when he got out 10 short of a well deserved maiden Test ton, he had already cut down the deficit under 50. The focus shifted from India’s score to whether Jurel can get to the hundred. 

Jurel’s speciality lay in the clarity of his mind. Where the India batters were stuck on Day 3 - not attacking the spinners enough - Jurel constantly shuffled around in the crease to disturb the English spinners. 

He had an efficient mix of attack and defense in his approach which is crystal clear in the graph underneath. 

Jurel scored 72 off his 90 runs against spin, batting at a strike rate of 64.9. 65% of his runs against spin came in the mid-wicket and long-on region. On a pitch where the ball has kept low with slow turn, Jurel hammered four sixes in these regions, showcasing his natural hitting prowess. Indian spectators had seen it in the IPL, but Jurel replicated it at a crucial juncture in his first Test series. When Kuldeep Yadav was out, Jurel added another 54 runs with numbers 10 and 11 for the last two wickets. 

Jurel celebrated his half-century with a salute, a fitting tribute to his father, who served in the Indian army, most notably during the Kargil War in 1999. It is the first half-century in the series by a wicketkeeper. While everyone was eyeing what he would offer to celebrate a hundred, Tom Hartley spun one past his bat to get him out for 90. 

But Jurel did his job of cutting down England’s lead and their chances of a series leveling win. He has made a case to be included as a pure batter once everyone is fit and leapfrogging KS Bharat, with plenty of work to be done on his glovesmanship, he could be the second-choice wicketkeeper for India when Rishabh Pant returns. 

To cap it off, like a cherry on top, Jurel has made a case for himself in Ranchi - a fitting place to shine for an Indian wicketkeeping batter. 

Related Article