Cricket-India unearth a 'gem' in Jurel to fill keeping void


  • Cricket
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Fourth Test - India v England - JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi, India - February 25, 2024 India's Dhruv Jurel in action REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A player-of-the-match award in only his second test, plaudits from the pundits and even a "man crush" from his England counterpart -- India wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel could not have dreamt of a better start to his international career.

Rishabh Pant's horrific car accident in December 2022 left India searching for someone who could match the 26-year-old's neat glovework and clean hitting.

Part-timer KL Rahul kept wicket in South Africa, while Srikar Bharat was tasked with the job in the first two tests against England but neither looked a long-term solution.

Jurel made his test debut in the third test in Rajkot, where India steamrolled England by 434 runs, their biggest test victory by runs.

The 23-year-old has honed his six-hitting skills in the Indian Premier League and he smashed three of them in his maiden test knock of 46.

His keeping was impressive too and commentators gushed how Jurel ran in from behind the stumps to collect Mohammed Siraj's full-blooded throw on the bounce before breaking stumps while collapsing to run out England opener Ben Duckett.

Jurel furnished further proof of his maturity in the fourth test in Ranchi where India clinched the series with a match to spare on Monday.

Replying to England's first innings 353, India were 177-7 but Jurel's stellar 90 steered them to 307 denying their rivals a bigger and potentially decisive lead.

Jurel fell short of a hundred but the way he batted with the tailenders and paced his knock particularly stood out.

With India slipping to 120-5 chasing a modest 192 on a spiteful track on Monday, Jurel combined with Shubman Gill in a defensive masterclass to put India 3-1 up in the five-match series.

"Dhruv Jurel is some player, India have found a gem," former Australia player Tom Moody wrote on X.

Batting great Sachin Tendulkar praised Jurel's footwork, while former West Indies player Ian Bishop said emergence of such players augured well for test cricket.

"Around the cricketing landscape we are witnessing some really talented young players popping up. Future of the game is in good hands," Bishop wrote on X.

Rival captain Ben Stokes also doffed his hat at the Indian.

"Both innings he's played very well. His keeping was something to watch — I think Ben Foakes has a little man crush on him there," Stokes said referring to the England wicketkeeper.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Michael Perry)

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