The Indian team management’s faith in KS Bharat might just be starting to shake as the wicketkeeper is all set to be replaced by the young Dhruv Jurel in the Playing XI for the Rajkot Test. Bharat has taken up India’s wicketkeeping role since Rishabh Pant’s injury and while he is a pretty safe bet with the gloves, his batting has been far from convincing. In 7 Tests, Bharat hasn’t scored a single half-century and his vulnerability against quality bowling attacks has borderline reduced him to a walking wicket.
Bharat’s Journey Till Now:
Bharat’s disappointing tally of 221 runs from 7 Tests and 12 innings, averaging 20.09, highlights his ongoing challenges. Despite his recent unbeaten 116 for India A against England Lions, his performance with the senior team remains a cause for concern. Given India’s batting lineup, especially in the second innings, displaying vulnerability, it suggests that Bharat’s tenure with the Indian team may be nearing its conclusion, at least for the interim period.
As per some sources, “Bharat’s batting has been well below-par, while his ‘keeping hasn’t been great either. He needs to make use of his chances. Jurel, on the other hand, is talented, has a good attitude, and has a bright future. 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”.
Bharat received his maiden India call-up for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, but his start was less than impressive, managing only 101 runs from six innings. His performance in the WTC final, scoring 5 and 23, further highlighted his batting struggles. Despite a promising start with 41 runs against England in Hyderabad, his form deteriorated in the subsequent three innings. His dismissal due to a rash stroke in the second innings of the Visakhapatnam Test might have accelerated talks of his departure from the team.
Dhruv Jurel: Emerging Talent Ready to Shine:
In January, the 22-year-old Jurel received his inaugural India call-up as a backup wicketkeeper. With the management opting against KL Rahul as the keeper, and the Ishan Kishan situation remaining unresolved, Jurel’s consistent performances for India A earned him recognition. Having debuted in First-Class cricket against Vidarbha last year, Jurel has accumulated 790 runs from 15 matches and showcased good form for India A.
During the England Lions series, where he shared the dressing room with Bharat, Jurel notched up a half-century and scored 69 against South Africa A. Additionally, while representing Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket, Jurel has caught attention with scores of 63, an unbeaten 57, and 77.
Jurel’s influence extends beyond the domestic circuit. In IPL 2023, he garnered attention as a game-changing player for the Rajasthan Royals, scoring 32 runs off just 15 balls against Punjab Kings. Acquired by the Royals franchise for ₹20 lakh, Jurel proved his mettle on the big stage. Moreover, he served as the vice-captain of the India Under 19 squad, which narrowly missed out on winning the World Cup in 2020.