From Mumbai local trains to beating top teams, this UAE cricketer has come a long way

Dhruv Parashar, a batting all-rounder, has helped the UAE beat Pakistan, West Indies and Ireland at the under 19 level

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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The crowded Mumbai local trains were the mode of transport for UAE cricketer Dhruv Parashar in Mumbai when he was playing age-group cricket in India. — X/Supplied photos
The crowded Mumbai local trains were the mode of transport for UAE cricketer Dhruv Parashar in Mumbai when he was playing age-group cricket in India. — X/Supplied photos

Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 12:34 AM

Last updated: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 10:59 PM

For someone who grew up in the cosy comforts of his residence in Downtown Dubai, Dhruv Parashar could have opted for a cab to reach Mumbai’s cricket grounds after the talented batting all-rounder arrived in India to play age-group domestic tournaments.

But Dhruv decided to hop on local trains every day with his cricket kit, jostling for space in notoriously crowded compartments during peak hours.

“I went to Mumbai because I wanted to learn and play a high level of cricket,” Dhruv told the Khaleej Times.

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“After going there, I could have found some other mode of transport. But I decided to do that (take local trains) because I thought that would help me in my cricket journey.”

It was an experience that has certainly helped this 19-year-old cricketer cope with the demands of the sport.

Dhruv showed remarkable temperament as he produced match-winning performances with his off-spin against the West Indies and Ireland, two Test-playing teams, helping the UAE win the Plate Division title at the 2022 ICC Under 19 World Cup.

“I am a part-time spinner, but when we played against the West Indies, five of our players were down with Covid. So we had no choice. Our main bowlers had Covid, and someone had to step up and take wickets,” said Dhruv who took four wickets in that semifinal before taking two more and the man-of-the-match award in the final against Ireland.

Dhruv was one of the stars again for the UAE in the recent Under 19 Asia Cup, playing a key role with a miserly spell (10-1-29-1) in the historic 11-run win over Pakistan in a low-scoring semifinal.

He is now on the verge of playing for the senior team which will take on Afghanistan in a two-match unofficial one-day series starting on Monday in Sharjah.

“All the Under-19 performances go towards getting to play for the men's team because that’s the highest level,” he said.

“So when it does happen you feel very satisfied, it feels like all the hard work and stuff that your parents have done for you and sacrifices that they have made and all the performances and hard work that I have done, have paid off. So it feels very good and proud.”

Dhruv, a huge Chris Gayle fan, says the stunning wins over Test-playing teams have shown the size of the talent pool in the UAE.

“I am very excited about the future. We have a lot of talent at the under 19 and even at the under 16 level,” said the right-handed batter who is also hoping to be picked for the UAE’s official T20 series (Dec 29-Jan 2) against the Afghans after the two one-day games.

“And I mean, it's not like we just have talent, but we have also delivered the performances against the big teams in big matches.

“We have beaten five Test-playing teams at under 19 level since last year. That’s quite incredible for an associate team!”

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