Dhruv Jurel vs Rishabh Pant debate gets 'MS Dhoni' verdict from Anil Kumble | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Dhruv Jurel vs Rishabh Pant debate gets stirring 'MS Dhoni' verdict from Anil Kumble

Feb 28, 2024 06:30 AM IST

Will Dhruv Jurel retain his place in the India Test lineup when Rishabh Pant returns? Anil Kumble gave his verdict.

Dhruv Jurel was a revelation for India in the Ranchi Test against England. Across Day 3 and 4, on a track offering uneven bounce, he carved out two masterful knocks, including an inspiring 90, showing immense composure and maturity, as India scripted a five-wicket win to claim the series 3-1. Following the performance that earned him the Player of the Match award, the question that instantly emerged in post-match discussions was whether Jurel would retain his place when India play their next Test match in September with Rishabh Pant aiming a comeback to cricket.

Anil Kumble gives his verdict on Dhruv Jurel vs Rishabh Pant
Anil Kumble gives his verdict on Dhruv Jurel vs Rishabh Pant

Pant was India's primary wicketkeeping choice across format, until that unfortunate night in December 2022, when he suffered a tragic car accident. With the youngster on the sidelines, India gave KS Bharat an extended run in the first half of 2023 before finding an able option in Ishan Kishan. However, after the latter opted for a mental health break last December, India tried KL Rahul for the role in the tour of South Africa before going back to a more specialist option in Bharat for the opening two matches against England in the ongoing series.

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With Bharat continuing his poor run of form with the bat, having not scored a single fifty in seven appearances in the format, India took their bet on Jurel. The youngster showed glimpses of his abilities, with the bat and gloves, on debut in Rajkot, before delivering a top-notch performance in Ranchi, that drew comparisons with the legendary MS Dhoni.

Jurel will get another chance to showcase his talent, in the fifth Test in Dharamsala next week. But India will play their next series in September, against Bangladesh. Besides Bharat, the team management will have another major wicketkeeping option in Pant, who is all set to make a return in IPL 2024 after 13 months out.

Speaking on the selection headache that the Indian team management will have later this year, India legend Anil Kumble chose to steer away from the debate, but admitted that Jurel has all the credentials to achieve what Dhoni did in his career.

‘Dhruv Jurel has all the credentials to get where MS Dhoni reached’

"Oh yes, there's Rishabh Pant. We don't know of course when he comes, comes back whenever that happens. Sooner hopefully for Rishabh. But otherwise, yes, he certainly has all the credentials to get to where MS (Dhoni) reached in his career. But he's shown that he's not just shown the temperament of his technique to defence but even when he's attacking. Even in that first innings he was very assured he went after and then hit those big sixes when he was batting with the tail and hats off even behind the stumps," Kumble said on Jio Cinema.

"He's been exceptional. Especially of the faster bowlers. Spinners again took a couple of really good catches and he's only going to improve. This is only his second Test and I'm sure as he starts playing more and more he'll only get better. And it only augers well for India. And to have him in a squad is exceptional. Yeah, I mean it's not been easy for KS Bharat. But that's why I said the selectors, having seen him with only 15 1st class games have chosen him. Saying okay, this is the person who we believe and introduced him in that last Test. And since then he's been outstanding and he's played the match because the batting really I always feel and I don't want to sort of throw a dampener on this at all because that's not my intention," he added.

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