Dhruv Jurel’s impressive work ethic and his quest for excellence stood out when he played for Rajasthan Royals, the IPL team’s Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara said after the youngster received his maiden call-up in the Indian Test squad for the upcoming England series.
The young Uttar Pradesh batter-keeper stole limelight during the last IPL. He had risen through the ranks with impressive red ball performances for his state in domestic cricket and is currently an India ‘A’ regular.
“I’m feeling very proud and happy because one of our key motivators and performance indicators in the IPL is to produce players for India and we have produced quite a lot over the years,” Sangakkara replied to a PTI query on Saturday.
“Jurel is the latest addition. He is a brilliant young man, a very good player and has worked really hard to get where he has,” said the former Sri Lanka captain, who is here to oversee Paarl Royals.
But did he expect Jurel to get a red ball call-up so soon?
“I think it is up to the selectors on how they want to construct their red and white ball teams. Our job is to produce the best players, so they get their opportunities in any format,” Sangakkara said.
Asked what he thought has helped Jurel make rapid strides, he replied: “His work ethics and demeanour stand out. He came in at a very difficult position for RR (last season) and scored so many runs. “
“He is a matchwinner in short format, but this is a real test of his technique, character and his application to be in the Test side,” said the former keeper.
Sangakkara believes that the grammar of cricket in terms of evaluation of talent will change because of T20s but Test cricket will still retain its pristine charm.
“Red-ball cricket will always be relevant. At the end of the day, we are producing good cricketers and good cricketers can adapt to any format.”
Just like the adage ‘there are thousands of ways to skin a cat’, Sangakkara wants people to find their own method.
“The format itself need not be played in one specific way. We have seen how much it has changed and it is exciting to see the changes in Test cricket,” he said.
“The players that are coming through now, they are flexible and adaptable and exciting to watch. They add so much in terms of excitement and short repertoire deliveries,” he said.
With single franchise owning multiple teams (IPL, SA20, CPL, ILT20), Sangakkara believes the day isn’t far when football club like contracts round the year will be offered to the players.
“That could be a great possibility and all the stake holders, ICC and the home boards will have to make some tough decisions on how we will keep cricket relevant.
“Because if the sport is not relevant and you are not getting the spectators to the stadium, that’s when the sport is in trouble,” Sangakkara said, sounding a mild warning for ICC.
But, he maintained that cricket as a game is in pink of health.
“The game is very healthy and is on the cusp of going in a new direction. Now, it is about making sure it addresses the needs of all its stakeholders — the public and the players. The fans dictate the direction in which the sport heads,” he signed off.