He overcame a childhood accident and a dislike of playing cricket at home to make it to the IPL.
When Dhruv Jurel, 22, walked out to bat as an Impact Player in his first IPL game, there were bound to be concerned about why the Rajasthan Royals had sent him in ahead of a seasoned international like Jason Holder.
At the time, Royals required 74 from 30 balls against Punjab Kings, and he had only three T20s under his belt. They eventually fell short by five runs, with Jurel undefeated on 32 off 15 balls in an innings packed of eye-catching stroke play. It was his first time in the rowdy, high-pressure conclusion of an IPL thriller, but he was unafraid.
“I was not nervous at all when I went to bat because I had seen those scenarios while on the bench last year.” “The crowd, the loud cheering, the opposition sledging, the hype, everything,” Jurel tells ESPNcricinfo. “It wasn’t difficult for me. This is my second year with Rajasthan, and I only had one chance.”
Jurel has craved for that opportunity and made it count throughout his cricketing career. He hit huge runs during Uttar Pradesh’s title-winning Cooch Behar Trophy run in 2018-19; he guided India Under-19 to victory at the 2019 Asia Cup; and he reached 249 in only his sixth first-class game.
Jurel’s route to the IPL has not been easy. He was five years old when his left leg was crushed by a bus wheel in Agra, necessitating plastic surgery. Before cricket, he aspired to join the Indian Army, like his father Nem Singh Jurel, a Kargil war veteran.
“Mere father army me the, ki main cricket khelun kabhi support karte hi nahi the.” [Because my father was in the Army, he never really encouraged me to play cricket.] “He wanted me to get a government job, something secure,” Jurel explains. “One day, Dad was reading the newspaper when he suddenly said to me, ‘There is a cricketer with the same name as you, and he has scored thus many runs.’ I was terrified and didn’t know how to tell him that this cricketer was me. I was just afraid he’d ask me to leave cricket.”
Jurel felt cricket was his future from an early age, but when he asked for a kit at the age of 14, his father told him to concentrate on his education. To grant her son’s wishes, his mother sold a gold chain.
“I asked my father to purchase a Kashmir willow bat for me for around INR 1500-2000.” Even that was costly, but my father purchased the bat. However, the full kitbag was prohibitively pricey.
“I locked myself in the bathroom and threatened to flee if he didn’t get me the cricket kit.” My mother became distraught as a result, and she offered my father her gold chain, asking him to sell it and get me the kit. I was quite excited at the moment, but as I developed, I realized how significant their sacrifice was.”