'I kept cheering for South Africa...': India youngster's bizarre move amid Proteas scare during T20 World Cup final | Crickit

'I kept cheering for South Africa...': India youngster's bizarre move amid Proteas scare during T20 World Cup final

Jul 05, 2024 05:49 PM IST

Find out how the Zimbabwe-bound India youngsters reacted to the seniors winning the T20 World Cup in Barbados.

If winning the T20 World Cup meant the world and beyond to Team India and the 15 who participated in the tournament, it was equally special to those who couldn't be a part of it. As the seniors fought tooth and nail against the top teams in the world – first in the USA and then the Caribbean – the many youngsters who looked up to them prayed in unison, especially the 15 who were Zimbabwe-bound, celebrated India's T20 World Cup win with equal enthusiasm and aplomb.

Dhruv Jurel was extremely nervous seeing South Africa racing away in the game at one stage(BCCI-AP)
Dhruv Jurel was extremely nervous seeing South Africa racing away in the game at one stage(BCCI-AP)

The day after Rohit Sharma and his boys were crowned World Champions, Shubman Gill and his young brigade were to leave for Zimbabwe… just in time to catch a glimpse of Team India becoming World Cup winners. Abhishek Sharma, who earned his maiden India call-up for the five-match T20I series against Zimbabwe, revealed he was watching the game with his mentor Yuvraj Singh, who turned emotional seeing Team India achieve what the nation wanted them to for 13 years.

"I was watching the match with the one and only Yuvi Paaji. When India won, he got really emotional. I was very inspired by that and felt so good. It's our dream – to win an ICC Trophy – and he has won it twice. To see him emotional is a moment I will never forget. Then we went out and celebrated as well. This World Cup was very special, and it inspired me so much that now I want to win a World Cup for India," he said.

Gill, captain of the side, who came perilously close to becoming a world champion himself last November, expressed his delight at seeing his teammates clinch the biggest prize in world cricket. "This must be very special for all of them and very special for me. They were working so hard for this feather in their caps," he said.

Like Abhishek, another youngster set to make his India debut following a wonderful IPL, Riyan Parag called India's World Cup-winning feat a motivational factor for himself and the rest of his teammates. "It's special for all of us. All the young players in the team. To win and cup and something this big in stature, it's motivating for all of us and all those who play cricket in India"

Dhruv Jurel's double bluff to himself

But the most unexpected twist in the tale came from wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel, who revealed that at one stage, he was so scared of India losing that he began rooting for South Africa. From 106/4, South Africa raced to 151, with Heinrich Klaasen blasting a 29-ball half-century, including a 22-run over off Axar Patel. That is when Jurel, who made his India debut in the Test series against England earlier this year, bluffed himself… and as it turned out, the move worked as India went on to defeat the Proteas by seven runs in a final fitting for the occasion.

"When I was watching the final and cheering for India, South Africa got into a winning position, so I started cheering for South Africa, and India made a comeback. I kept cheering for South Africa, and India won the World Cup. I was celebrating like a kid," Jurel said.

Ruturaj Gaikwad paid tribute to the three stalwarts of Indian cricket – Virat Kohli, Rohit and Ravindra Jadeja – who, with India's win, announced their retirements from T20 internationals. "To have this kind of a win where we were almost in the jaws of defeat and then to come back and win from there is a special moment. Great ending for three legends of T20 cricket," said the Chennai Super Kings captain.

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