Dhruv Jurel (R) & KS Bharat (X.com)
Uncapped Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel appears “likely” to make his Test debut in Rajkot for the third Test against England, stated a report in the Times of India. Having impressed the selectors in Ranji Trophy and India A cricket, the 23-year-old looks set to replace the struggling KS Bharat in India’s playing XI on Thursday (February 15).
TOI quoted a BCCI source privy to the developments stating that the selectors and the team management have run out of patience for Bharatwho is averaging just 20.09 with the bat after seven Tests and provides little assurance in what is currently an understrength and weakened Indian batting unit.
Jurel may or may not be the long-term answer to the wicketkeeping woes but with incumbents Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan set to return for future assignments, and KL Rahul placed as a designated overseas alternative, the decision-makers find no issue in trialing another option in the ongoing Test series.
Dhruv Jurel Set To Make His Test Debut In Rajkot
“Bharat’s batting has been well below-par, while his ‘keeping hasn’t been great either. He isn’t making use of his chances. Jurel, on the other hand, is talented, has a good attitude and has a bright future,” the source told TOI. “He has done well for Uttar Pradesh, India A and the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. Don’t be surprised if Jurel makes his Test debut at Rajkot.”
It did come as a surprise that Bharat’s name was retained in the Test squad for the last three Tests after the wicketkeeper-batter’s disappointing run with the bat continued in Hyderabad and Vizag, and he eased no pressure on the inexperienced Indian batting unit.
Jurel, who had been drafted into the squad as a backup to Bharat, could now don the India cap for the first time in Rajkot with the series levelled 1-1. The youngster averages 46.47 with the bat after 15 first-class matches and is considered a safe glover in the red-ball game.