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Sangakkara expresses happiness at Jurel's India call-up

Dhruv was a surprise call-up to the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England, starting from January 25.

Sangakkara expresses happiness at Jurels India call-up

Kumar Sangakkara (Photo: ANI)

PAARL: Former Sri Lankan cricketer and current Rajasthan Royals (RR) coach and Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara on Friday expressed happiness at Indian wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel earning a maiden national side call-up for the Test series against England at home, saying that the player understands pressure well and has a fine work ethic.

Dhruv was a surprise call-up to the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England, starting from January 25.

"Very proud and happy because one of our key motivators and one of our key kind of performance indicators away from the IPL is producing players for India and we have produced quite a lot over the years and Dhruv being a new addition," said Sangakkara to the media at Paarl, where he is for the second season of SA20 with RR's sister franchise, Paarl Royals.

"He is a fantastic young man. He is a really good player who has worked really hard to get where he is. He understands pressure. He came in last season in one of the most difficult positions and scored so many runs for us. He is an absolute match-win in the short format. Jurel's work ethic and demeanour stand out," he added.

In the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Jurel played as a finisher for RR, scoring 152 runs in 13 matches at an average of 21.71 and a strike rate of over 172, with his best score being 34*. Also, in 15 First-Class matches, Jurel has scored 790 runs at an average of 46.47, with a century and five fifties in 19 innings.

His best score is 249. Jurel represents Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket. Talking about another RR talent Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has had a fine start to his international career, Sangakkara said that Jaiswal needs to keep working hard and understand the tactics of his opponents well.

Jaiswal notably did not have a fine Test series against South Africa, as he could manage just 50 runs in two matches and four innings, with the best score of 28.

Talking about the second season of SA20, South Africa's domestic franchise-based T20 league, Sangakkara said, "It is fantastic. SA20 has so much potential in terms of growth as a tournament and holding its own against other franchise leagues. We are in Paarl and it is a full house. There is a strong community connect and it augurs well for the tournament. Graeme Smith (league commissioner) has done a fine job as the head of this product," he said.

A total of six teams are participating in SA20, namely the Durban Super Giants, Joburg Super Kings, MI Cape Town, Paarl Royals, Sunrisers Eastern Cape and Pretoria Capitals. Sunrisers Eastern Cape won the inaugural season, beating Pretoria Capitals in the finals back in February last year.

Sangakkara said that red-ball cricket will always be relevant and lauded the new generation of cricketers for adding a lot to the format.

"Red ball cricket is always going to be relevant. At the end of the day, we are producing good cricketers. Good cricketers can adapt to any format. The format does not have to be played in one specific way. Players that are coming are adaptable, flexible, exciting to watch and add so much in terms of shots, athleticism, deliveries etc," said the former batting great.

With IPL team owners owning multiple franchises across various leagues now, Sangakkara said that it could be possible that players to be offered central contracts to represent all the franchises coming under a particular umbrella (like Mumbai Indians and its other franchises MI Cape Town of SA20, MI New York of Major League Cricket, MI Emirates of International League T20).

In this situation, the former batting great said that all stakeholders of the sport have to make some tough decisions. "It could be a great possibility (central contracts). ICC and all other stakeholders of the game have to make tough decisions to keep cricket relevant. If a sport is not relevant, draws no crowds and TV audience, it is in trouble. cricket as a game is very healthy and at the cusp of going in a very new direction. It should address the needs of all stakeholders, like fans and players. Fans dictate where the game goes and administration will be able to support it and fund it accordingly through their financial models," he concluded.

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