IPL star Dhruv Jurel knocks joins Test Squad as Rishabh Pant sweats its out


India's captain Rohit Sharma and teammate Rishab Pant during a practice session ahead at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru recently (ANI)

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Vishakapatnam/New Delhi   

The wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel opened up on his international call-up for the ongoing five-match Test series against England.

India lost the first Test of the series by 28 runs which was played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, in Hyderabad. Both teams will lock horns against each other in the second Test which will be played at Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Vishakapatnam on Friday.

Jurel asserted that he concluded the practice session when the Indian squad was announced for the first two Tests of the series. He said that he was shocked to see his name on the list. “We were having practice that day and it ended late in the evening. So, I was just going to sleep, and I casually opened BCCI TV and saw my name in the announced squad. I was literally in shock. Every kid playing cricket dreams of playing for the Indian national team. While seeing my name, I thought that I am living a dream,” Jurel said in an interview with Jio Cinema.

The 23-year-old further stated that every cricketer has a dream to play for India one day. He also said that it was an emotional moment as I was selected for the Test squad.

“Every cricketer has this dream and for a middle-class family, when you are starting, it seems unattainable because so many people are competing and financially, it is expensive. How will we manage everything is something on the mind? All of that was flashing back, from where I started and all the struggles I overcame. Everything was happening like a flashback. My parents, sister, and I were all talking about it. It was a great and emotional moment,” the Agra-born cricketer added.

In the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Jurel played as a finisher for the Rajasthan Royals, scoring 152 runs in 13 matches at an average of 21.71 and a strike rate of over 172, with his best score being 34*. It was his shot making in death overs that gave him the spotlight.

Since his debut in 2021 in the T20 format, Jurel has played 23 matches, scoring 244 runs in 19 innings at an average of 20.33, with the best score of 34* and a strike rate of 137.07.

Also, in 15 First-Class (FC) matches, Jurel has scored 790 runs at an average of 46.47, with a century and five fifties in 19 innings. His best score is 249. Jurel represents Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket.

Jurel made his FC debut back in the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy, scoring 158 runs in seven innings across five matches at an average of 26.33 with two half-centuries. He had a better outing in the next Ranji season, scoring 429 runs in six matches and seven innings at an average of 71.50, with a century and fifty. His best score was 249.

Jurel has represented India in the 2020 U19 World Cup, in which they ended up as runners-up to Bangladesh. He was the deputy to the captain, Priyam Garg, and scored 89 runs across three innings at an average of 44.50 with one fifty.

He has featured in 10 List-A games, scoring 189 runs in seven innings at an average of 47.25 with two half-centuries. Jurel made his List-A debut for India A this year in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Cup, scoring 31 runs in three innings in the tournament, which saw India end as runners-up to Pakistan.

Pant looks to regain fitness ahead of IPL

India batter Rishabh Pant on Tuesday provided an injury update as he looks to regain fitness ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

The left-handed wicketkeeper posted a story of him on Instagram, sweating it out in the gym, as he looks to make his first appearance on the field of cricket since December 2022.

Pant has been sidelined since a vehicle accident at the end of 2022, but the wicketkeeper batter is slowly regaining his fitness and is expected to return to the pitch this year.

The first hint of his return to IPL came back in November when he attended a Delhi Capitals camp in Kolkata, attended by senior support staff of the team including Sourav Ganguly (director of cricket), Ricky Ponting (head coach), and Pravin Amre (assistant coach). Subsequently, Pant took part in the discussions about the retention and release of players ahead of the auction.

Pant was also present in Dubai for the mini-auction of the latest edition of the IPL. During the event, he talked about his recovery.

“I think [I am] much better [compared to] what I was doing a few months ago. Still on recovery to 100 per cent, but hopefully, in a few months I will be able to do that. It has been really amazing because whenever we are playing, we feel no one loves us. After all, there is always pressure and so many things. Yes, it is a hard time but I came to know people love us, respect us and the kind of appreciation and concern people have shown over a while because of my injury,” Pant said in a video posted by his franchise on social media.

Pant also said that the love of fans and supporters means a lot to him as he continues to go towards 100 per cent fitness.

“It was heartfelt – crazy for me – because it means a lot as an individual when you are going through a very rough time. It is not only physical [recovery], it is mentally also and if your supporters and the people support you and love you, it means a lot, and it really helps in recovery,” he said.

The wicketkeeper-batter also expressed that he was “lucky to be alive” following the accident.

Rajasthan Royals Dhruv Jurel plays a shot during the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League 2023 (ANI)

“The kind of accident I had, [I am] lucky to be alive,” he added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), last July provided a fitness update on the batter in a statement which stated that he had “commenced batting as well as keeping in the nets” and had made “significant progress in his rehabilitation.”

Pant has represented DC since 2016 and scored 2,838 runs in 98 matches at an average of 34.61 and a strike rate of over 147, with a century and 15 fifties to his name.

Aakash Chopra on Punjab Kings acquiring Harshal Patel

Former India batter Aakash Chopra stated that the Punjab Kings franchise went for Harshal Patel as they needed an experienced Indian bowling option to bowl along with left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh.

During the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Dubai last year, the Punjab franchise toppled the Gujarat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants with a prize of Rs 11.75 crores for Harshal’s skills.

The cricketer-turned-commentator asserted that PBKS had only one Indian bowler- Arsdeep Singh – this might be a reason that the side was looking for an Indian who could give company to a left-arm speedster and bowl in the death overs as well.

“They had an Indian fast bowler in the form of Arshdeep (Singh) but apart from him, all their fast bowlers were overseas, whether it was Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Ellis or Sam Curran. So, they needed a partner for Arshdeep who could provide some help in the death overs or with the new ball,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

Further, the former India batter said that they were committed during Harshal’s bid and the management wanted him in their squad at any cost. They bought the right-arm pacer for Rs. 11.75 crores.

“Although I like their overseas recruits – Rabada and Nathan Ellis – a lot, it’s not the right thing if you are forced to play both of them with Sam Curran. So, they bought Harshal Patel for 11.75 crores. They were committed, they said they wanted this player at any cost,” the 46-year-old added.

So far in the T20s, Harshal has played 178 matches, in which the 33-year-old player has snapped a total of 209 wickets at an average of 23.88 and has leaked runs at an economy of 8.24. The Sanand-born cricketer has three four-fers and one fifer against his name in this format. With 1,235 runs, an average of above 16 and four half-centuries, Harshal is also a very capable batter.

Harshal’s best bowling figures in T20s is 5/27. This performance came while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore against the Mumbai Indians in the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League. He became the first bowler to claim a 5-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians in IPL.

BCCI releases ‘request for quotation’ for official IPL

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday released of Request for Quotation (RFQ) for official partner rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The Governing Council of the IPL invites bids from reputed entities for acquiring the Official Partner Rights for the Indian Premier League,” a BCCI release said on Monday.

It said the detailed terms and conditions governing the tender process including eligibility requirements, process for submissions of bids, rights and obligations, are contained in the ‘Request for Quotation’ (“RFQ”) document which can be taken by depositing a non-refundable fee of Rs five lakh plus any applicable Goods and Services Tax.

The RFQ can be purchased till February 19. Any interested party wishing to submit a bid is required to purchase the RFQ.

Only those satisfying the eligibility criteria set out in the RFQ and subject to the other terms and conditions set out shall be eligible to bid, the release said.

BCCI said it reserves the right to cancel or amend the bidding process at any stage in any manner without providing any reason.

BCCI awarded the title sponsorship rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to TATA Group for five years.

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