The Indian Cricket Board has unveiled a 16-member squad for the initial two matches of the upcoming 5-match Test series against England, scheduled to commence on January 25. The opening Test will take place at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
The selection committee's choices have raised eyebrows among Indian cricket fans due to unexpected inclusions and exclusions in the squad. Following India's recent 2-match Test series in South Africa, which concluded in a 1-1 draw, concerns were voiced over the middle-order performance. Many former cricketers advocated for the return of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
Contrary to these expectations, both Pujara and Rahane find themselves excluded from the team. Adding to the surprise, the young wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan, a consistent presence in the squad, has also been left out. Instead, the 22-year-old Dhruv Jurel, another young wicketkeeper-batter, has been named in the squad, marking a surprising twist in the selection decisions.
Who is Dhruv Jurel?
The right-handed batter gained prominence during the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with impressive performances for the Rajasthan Royals (RR). His earlier recognition came in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, where he showcased his batting prowess by scoring 89 runs at an impressive average of nearly 44.
Dhruv Jurel's journey is a source of inspiration, characterized by overcoming challenges. Hailing from a modest background, Jurel climbed the ranks and established himself in the domestic cricket scene. Reflecting on his early days, he shared poignant moments, including an instance when his father went to the extent of borrowing money to purchase a cricket bat for him. Check out what he has to say about his inspiring journey.
"I used to study in Army School. During the holidays I thought about joining a cricket camp at Eklavya Stadium in Agra. I filled up the form but did not tell my dad. When he came to know, he scolded me. However, he borrowed Rs 800 to buy me a cricket bat. When I told him I needed a cricket kit, Dad asked me how much it would cost. I told him about Rs six to seven thousand and he told me to stop playing. But I was adamant and locked myself in the bathroom. Then my mom sold her gold chain and got me a cricket kit,” Jurel was quoted as saying by English Jagran.
"My friends told me that I got selected for the Indian team. When I told them that I have been selected, they asked me 'Which Indian team I got selected?' I told them Rohit bhaiya, Virat Bhaiya wala Indian team. My whole family got emotional after hearing this," he added.
India squad for first two Tests vs England:
Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan.