‘I was visualising playing in front of a massive crowd’, RR star Dhruv Jurel on IPL debut, Check EXCLUSIVE Interview

Speaking to Insidesport, Jurel talked about his IPL debut, meeting MS Dhoni and More.

Dhruv Jurel: 'I was visualising playing in front of a massive crowd', RR star Dhruv Jurel on IPL debut, Check EXCLUSIVE Interview, IPL 2023, Rajasthan Royals, MS Dhoni

Every year, the Indian Premier League (IPL) provides a platform for young talents to showcase their skills on the grand stage. Among the numerous promising players at this year’s IPL, Rajasthan Royals’ Dhruv Jurel stood out. The 22-year-old made his IPL debut on April 5 against the Punjab Kings and demonstrated why he is destined to become a future star. In his debut innings, Jurel scored a quickfire 32 runs off only 15 balls. The young wicket-keeper batter amassed 152 runs in 13 matches, at a strike rate of 172.73, proving himself as a formidable finisher for the Royals this season.

After successfully managing to grab eyeballs in his maiden IPL, we here at InsideSport.IN spoke to Jurel and talked about his journey from playing Gully cricket to playing alongside some of the biggest names in world cricket.

Insidesport: From Gully cricket to playing against MS Dhoni. How would you describe your cricket journey?

Dhruv: I started my cricket journey when I was 12. Before that, I used to play in my street. I was a very popular Batsman in my gully. I’ll tell you how my career journey started. I always spoke to my mother about cricket and how I wanted to play cricket. However, my father was in Army & he always wanted me to prepare for NDA or for a government job. Then one of my friends decided to join a summer camp. I was also there, so I decided to enroll myself in cricket as a professional cricketer. So that’s how my journey started. My father had no idea that I was playing cricket.

Insidesport: So, as you mentioned, you started thinking about cricket when you joined the summer camp. But every cricketer has a moment when they realize that they don’t want to do anything other than play cricket. When did that moment come for you?

Dhruv: Within one or two months of starting to play cricket, I realized that I was enjoying the game professionally and doing well compared to other children. After two or three months, I realized that I wanted to pursue cricket as my career. It happened quite fast for me.

Insidesport: Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and Shubman Gill all had one thing in common before Team India call-up – A successful U-19 World Cup. How crucial was the experience of playing in the U-19 World Cup in shaping you as a cricketer?

Dhruv: Playing in the under-19 World Cup gave me exposure and the recognition that I was representing the national team. It was a life-changing moment for me as people started recognizing my abilities. I played so many U-19 series and It turned out to be a life-changing moment for me as a cricketer.

Dhruv Jurel: 'I was visualising playing in front of a massive crowd', RR star Dhruv Jurel on IPL debut, Check EXCLUSIVE Interview, IPL 2023, Rajasthan Royals, MS Dhoni

Insidesport: What was going through your mind when your name came up during IPL 2022 Auction and Rajasthan Royals picked you?

Dhruv: I was in quarantine at that time, and it was the second or third day of quarantine. I was playing Ranji Trophy, so I was in a good mindset. I was sitting in the hotel in Gurgaon and watching the auction. The auction lasted for two days, and on the first day, my name didn’t come up. I felt disappointed when I heard that I went unsold. I was shattered. I talked with my father and sister, and they tried to console me, saying that it’s okay, we’ll come back stronger. In the evening, when they reshuffled the names, my name came up, and Rajasthan picked me. It was a very special and unforgettable moment for me. My sister called me and she was in tears. My family was thrilled, and I received many calls from relatives. It was a great moment.

Insidesport: How was the environment in Rajasthan Royals’ camp? How was it for you as a youngster to approach Kumar Sangakkara and Sanju Samson?

Dhruv: They are all very humble and approachable. Talking to them doesn’t feel like you are talking to legends who have played numerous Tests and ODIs for their country. They are very down-to-earth, especially Kumar Sangakkara sir. I learned a lot from them, not just about cricket but also about life. They are always helpful, and their doors were always open for young players.

Insidesport: Your debut match was quite special, scoring a brilliant 32 off 15 balls in front of a large crowd. Did you feel any pressure while facing star bowlers and performing in such a high-pressure situation?

Dhruv: I was an Impact Player so I was all prepared and ready to contribute for the team whenever I was required. I was very eagerly waiting for my chance to come. This year, I worked very hard and I was just visualising everything every day that I am playing in front of a massive crowd and that helped me a lot.

Insidesport: While April 5 was a special day for you, April 12 was a little extra special for you as you met MS Dhoni. How was the experience and what did you talk about?

Dhruv: It was a fanboy moment for me. I have always admired him a lot as a cricketer. It was a good moment because last year when I met him, I only got to interact with him for a few minutes, and I didn’t realize then that I was sitting in front of him. So, it was a fun moment for me to talk to him.

Insidesport: After the game, you talked to MS Dhoni. How was the experience and what did you talk about?

Dhruv: I was curious to know about his mentality while batting. I asked him about his approach when the team requires 100 runs in the last 12-13 overs, and he seems to excel in those situations. He told me to keep things simple, not to fear making mistakes, and to focus on the goal. He emphasized the importance of simplicity and doing what is effective rather than going for fancy shots. It was a valuable conversation, and his advice stayed with me.

Insidesport: Your shot selection and style of play have been praised, often compared to Suryakumar Yadav. Were those shots spontaneous, or did you follow any specific technique or shot-making strategy?

Dhruv: Surykumar Yadav is one of the best white-ball cricketers India has ever produced. But I just played my natural game without overthinking. There was a purpose behind every shot I played, whether it was a ramp shot, scoop shot or a well-timed drive. I wanted to elevate my batting to the next level. I focused on improving myself and playing my natural game. That’s just the simple mentality I like to carry throughout.

Insidesport: The first year of IPL turned out to be a smashing success for you. What’s next for Dhruv Jurel. India calling?

Dhruv: I don’t have a clear plan at the moment. I take things as they come and remain open to any opportunities that come my way. I am ready to face whatever challenges or opportunities lie ahead.

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